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Full text of "Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: a Profile"

THE LIBRARY 

OF CONGRESS 



IRAN'S MINISTRY OF INTELLIGENCE AND 
SECURITY: A PROFILE 



A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division, 

Library of Congress 

under an Interagency Agreement with the 

Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office's 

Irregular Warfare Support Program 

December 201 2 



Federal Research Division 
Library of Congress 
Washington, D.C. 20540^4840 

Tel: 202-707-3900 

Fax: 202-707-3920 

E-Mail: frds@loc.gov 

Homepage: http://www. loc. gov/rr/frd/ 



64 Years of Service to the Federal Government "& 
1948-2012 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

PREFACE 

This report presents an overview of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and 
attempts to provide an inclusive assessment of the organization, including characteristics such as 
its history and development, organizational structure, and recruitment. 

The information in this report was collected mainly from Farsi and English journals, 
online news Web sites, and Iranian blogs. In conducting this analysis, an effort has been made to 
ensure the reliability of the information by comparing and contrasting all information across 
multiple sources. However, because of the secretive nature of the organization and its operations, 
information about the ministry is difficult to locate and evaluate. 

Because of the extreme degree of control of the media and news by the government of the 
Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranians have to depend on alternative sources such as blogs to receive 
daily news. For example, in 2005 Iran had the third- largest number of bloggers in the world after 
the United States and China, an indication of the importance of the communication and 
dissemination of news through blogs and social media. Needless to say, the Ministry of 
Intelligence and Security does not publish information about its activities on Iranian Web sites. 
Consequently, in the absence of official government information, this report occasionally relies 
on social media, in particular blogs, as a source of information more than might ordinarily be 
warranted. The reliability of blog-based information may be questionable at times, but it seems 
prudent to evaluate and present it in the absence of alternatives. 

In view of the secrecy that surrounds the ministry, many aspects of its organization, 
leadership, and activities are poorly understood. The role of the ministry outside of Iran and its 
cooperation with the Quds Force are topics that merit more careful study. In addition, knowledge 
of the ministry's cyber capabilities would give better insight into Iran's possible intentions in a 
cyber war. 

As noted above, this report relies extensively on sources in Farsi. For the convenience of 
the reader, the bibliography and footnotes list those sources with English translations of their 
titles first, followed by the original Farsi titles in brackets. The Web addresses presented in the 
report were current as of November 2012. 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PREFACE i 

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 

2. GROUP NAMES AND ALIASES 2 

3. GROUP TYPE 3 

4. OBJECTIVES 3 

5. ETHNIC, POLITICAL, AND RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION 4 

5.1 Ethnic Composition 4 

5 .2 Political Affiliation and Religious and Ideological Orientation 4 

6. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 5 

7. ORGANIZATION 10 

8. PRINCIPAL LEADERS 18 

9. HEADQUARTERS 23 

10. COMMAND AND CONTROL 24 

11. MEMBERSHIP SIZE 24 

12. MEMBERSHIP AND RECRUITMENT 24 

13. TRAINING AND INDOCTRINATION 28 

14. METHODS OF OPERATION AND TACTICS 29 

14.1 Operations 29 

14.2 Control of Media 31 

15. INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES 32 

15.1 Signals and Cyber Intelligence 32 

15.2 Human Intelligence 33 

15.3 Counterintelligence 33 

16. MOTIVATION AND PERFORMANCE 36 

17. PRINCIPAL AREAS OF OPERATION 37 

18. FINANCES AND FUND-RAISING 40 

19. FOREIGN AFFILIATIONS AND SUPPORT 40 

20. USE OF COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA 41 

21. TERRORIST THREAT ASSESSMENT 44 

22. INFORMATION GAPS (IN SOURCES) 45 

23. KEY HISTORICAL EVENTS AND SETBACKS 45 

24. CHRONOLOGY OF SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST ATTACKS 48 



n 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

25. BIBLIOGRAPHY 52 

26. APPENDIX. Charts, Maps, and Photos 62 



in 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

• The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) uses all means at its disposal to protect 
the Islamic Revolution of Iran, utilizing such methods as infiltrating internal opposition 
groups, monitoring domestic threats and expatriate dissent, arresting alleged spies and 
dissidents, exposing conspiracies deemed threatening, and maintaining liaison with other 
foreign intelligence agencies as well as with organizations that protect the Islamic 
Republic's interests around the world. 



• 



• 



• 



• 



• 



Although Islamist hard-liners in Iran are in charge of the ministry under the guidance of 
Supreme Leader Ayatollah AH Khamenei, the organization encompasses a mixture of 
political ideologies. 

Every minister of intelligence must hold a degree in ijtihad (the ability to interpret 
Islamic sources such as the Quran and the words of the Prophet and imams) from a 
religious school, abstain from membership in any political party or group, have a 
reputation for personal integrity, and possess a strong political and management 
background. 

According to Iran's constitution, all organizations must share information with the 
Ministry of Intelligence and Security. The ministry oversees all covert operations. It 
usually executes internal operations itself, but the Quds Force of the Islamic 
Revolutionary Guards Corps for the most part handles extraterritorial operations such as 
sabotage, assassinations, and espionage. Although the Quds Force operates 
independently, it shares the information it collects with MOIS. 

The Iranian government considers Mojahedin-e-Khalq to be the organization that most 
threatens the Islamic Republic of Iran. One of the main responsibilities of the Ministry of 
Intelligence and Security is to conduct covert operations against Mojahedin-e-Khalq and 
to identify and eliminate its members. Other Iranian dissidents also fall under the 
ministry's jurisdiction. 

The ministry has a Department of Disinformation, which is in charge of creating and 
waging psychological warfare against the enemies of the Islamic Republic. 

Iran's ability to collect covert information is limited; specifically, its signals intelligence 
capability represents only a limited threat because it is still under development. 

Even though Iran has created a well-equipped counterintelligence system to protect its 
nuclear program, it appears that other countries' operatives still succeed in infiltrating the 
system, as well as some other parts of Iran's intelligence apparatus. 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



2. GROUP NAMES AND ALIASES 

The Iranian intelligence service is called the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), or 
Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar (VEVAK) in Farsi. MOIS agents are known as 
"Unknown Soldiers of Imam Zaman," 1 the name that Ayatollah Khomeini gave them. 2 




Previous MOIS Emblem 
Source: http://www. 
iranfocus.com 




Current MOIS Emblem 
Source: http://cyber- 
army.blogfa.com 



The above left image has been the ministry's emblem since its establishment. A graphic 
design of Allah (i.e., God) is located at the top. Below the Allah symbol are the words in Farsi 
for the Islamic Republic of Iran, and, on the bottom, the Ministry of Intelligence. The figure on 
the right shows the ministry's possible new emblem, which has appeared during news programs 
on national television. It forms a star with eight corners (a polygon). In Islamic culture, a 
polygon is a religious symbol. Two las (la in Arabic means "no" or "not") on the right and left 
side (stylized as pointed salients) are interpreted as "Neither East, nor West, Islamic Republic." 
In the center of the star, an eye conveys the role of the ministry as a surveillant of the Islamic 
Republic of Iran. 



1 Twelver Shia Muslims believe that Imam Zaman (The Leader of the Age) was appointed by Allah to be the savior 
of mankind. Among his many other names, he is also known as "the Mahdi" (The Rightly Guided One). Iman 
Zaman is the Twelfth Imam in the succession of Islamic leaders of Shi'a Muslims. 

2 "Destruction of a Spy Network Linked to the CIA and Detention of 30 American Spies" [ 4^tj ^^h- <^uj (>I^Jl 
^JiLjj*! <j^J^. 30 (iiiShjJj j h*x <j] ; Fars News Agency [Tehran], May 21, 201 1, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext. 
php?nn=90023 15207 (accessed March 20, 2012). Fars News is a semi-official news agency with ties to the Iranian 
government. 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

3. GROUP TYPE 

MOIS is the most powerful and well-supported ministry among all Iranian ministries in 
terms of logistics, finances, and political support. It is a non-military governmental organization 
that operates both inside and outside of Iran. Intelligence experts rank MOIS as one of the largest 
and most dynamic intelligence agencies in the Middle East. 

The current minister of intelligence and security has described his ministry as being 
uninfluenced by foreign intelligence services: "One of the characteristics of MOIS is that it 
formed from inside of the revolution; and in fact, this organization was formed on the basis of 
the needs of the revolution in contrast with other intelligence services around the world that 
imitate each other." 

4. OBJECTIVES 

Iran's constitution defines MOIS's functions as: 

• collecting, analyzing, producing, and categorizing internal and external intelligence; 



• 



• 



uncovering conspiracy, subversion, espionage, sabotage, and sedition against the 
independence, security, and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran; 

protecting intelligence, news, documents, records, facilities, and personnel of the 
ministry; and 

training and assisting organizations and institutions to protect their significant records, 
documents, and objects. 5 



"Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security," Iran Focus [UK], May 6, 2005, http://www.iranfocus.com/en/? 
option=com_content&task=view&id=2020 (accessed January 31, 2012). Iran focus is a UK-based news Web site 
that provides news on Middle East countries; "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country," 

Enghelab-e-Eslami, 2011, http://enghelabe-eslami.corrV5-2880/^-Ly^-j-^-^jlj^ .html (accessed May 

22, 2012). This is the Web site of Abul Hassan Banisadr, the first president of Iran after the Revolution. He had to 
escape from Iran to save his life. He is now a critic of the Islamic Republic. 

4 "The Minister of Intelligence's Report of Successes / Outside Opponents and Internal Dissidents of 1388 [2009] 
Have Become Active Again" [-^ *^> J^ '-"^ 88 ^ ls^- ,j Ch^ j ls^-J^- lA^A* m^>« J iiilcV jl jjjj jSjl _£], Raja 
News [Tehran] (probably 2010 or more recent), http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=95793 (accessed April 4, 
2012). Raja News is a conservative Iranian news agency based in Iran that supports the Supreme Leader of Iran. 

5 "Intelligence and Law" [oj^ j iiAciUal], Jame Jam Online [Tehran], February 11, 2009, http://www. 
jamejamonline.ir/papertext.aspx?newsnum=100898802936 (accessed April 4, 2012). This conservative Web site is 
the Web site of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Service (IRIB), which advocates the Supreme Leader's 
policies. 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

MOIS's internal activities are a priority unless it is deemed necessary for MOIS to become 
involved directly in external operations. It is possible that the Supreme National Security Council 
or the Supreme Leader determines MOIS's external operations (see Organization, below). 

MOIS has a proven record of accomplishment in the execution of these functions. In carrying 
out its constitutional duties, MOIS conducts liaison with other foreign intelligence agencies as 
well as with organizations such as Lebanese Hezbollah that protect and promote the Islamic 
Republic's foreign agenda. 6 

5. ETHNIC, POLITICAL, AND RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION 

5.1 Ethnic Composition 

As an official Iranian government agency, MOIS is overwhelmingly staffed by Iranians. It 
does, however, recruit other nationalities for its missions. For example, Anne Singleton, who is 
British, allegedly works for MOIS (see Membership and Recruitment, below). 

5.2 Political Affiliation and Religious and Ideological Orientation 

Until the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, most MOIS personnel 
were not uniformly hard-line Islamists, although they were vetted for ideological conformity. 
For example, in an article on the Fars News Web site in July 2005, the former minister of 
intelligence and security, Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, said that when he consulted the former 
foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati, about whether to accept an offer from President 
Mohammad Khatami (president, 1997-2005) to become head of MOIS, Velayati told him "the 
Ministry of Intelligence is like a city which is governed by various insights and trends." 7 

After the reelection of President Ahmadinejad, the country became divided between 
"reformists" — those Iranians who planned to keep the core values of Iran's Revolution and to 
change the system to include more freedom and democracy — and "hard-liners" — those who 
opposed any such changes. This division occurred even among officials who formerly held 
important and sensitive positions. The Ministry of Intelligence and Security was no exception. 



6 Cyrus Maximus, "The Ministry of Intelligence and Security," Iran Channel, September 16, 2010, 
http://iranchannel.org/archives/357 (accessed March 21, 2012); Iran Channel criticizes the Iranian government's 
policies. It is unclear where it is based. 

7 "Dorri Najafabadi Spoke About his Selection as the Minister of Intelligence" [ *j* M^"' J^J*-*- °J-lP ls^4 >-M lsj j 
£j& <j^" iiA^ilLI jjjj jjljjc <j] ; Fars News Agency [Tehran], July 18, 2005, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php? 
nn=8404270109 (accessed March 22, 2012); United Kingdom, Home Office, UK Border Agency, "IRAN: Country 
of Origin Information (COI) Report," June 28, 2011, 39, http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/ 
documents/policyandlaw/coi/iran/report-0611.pdf?view=Binary (accessed March 21, 2012). 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

Many high-ranking intelligence agents supported Mir Hossein Mousavi, President 
Ahmadinejad's rival and a reformist. However, the right wing immediately started to remove 
reformist supporters from the ministry. For example, Saeed Hajjarian, a reform theorist and 
strategist in Iran, was imprisoned after the 2009 election even though he had been one of the 
founders of MOIS after the Revolution. 

MOIS operates under the direct supervision of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, 
who claims to be the leader of the Muslim world. As noted above, MOIS agents are known as 
"Unknown Soldiers of Imam Zaman," who is the Twelfth Imam in the succession of Islamic 
leaders of Shi'a Muslims. However, the organization is not bound by Shi'a beliefs. To advance 
its goals, MOIS recruits individuals regardless of their beliefs, including Arabs or Jews to spy in 
Israel. For example, the deputy minister of MOIS, Saeed Emami, was appointed to a key position 
in the ministry because of his family record, despite allegedly being Jewish by birth. 9 

6. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

Iran's intelligence and security system is a difficult subject to study because so little 
information about it is publicly available. Nevertheless, a review of the history of Iran's 
intelligence agencies should lead to a better understanding and an improved assessment of the 
present-day Iranian intelligence apparatus. Iran's intelligence strategy must be understood in the 
historical context of the Cold War and Iran's 1979 Revolution. Iran's intelligence activities are 
best divided into two parts: before and after the Revolution. 

After World War II, Iran became a major player on the side of the West in the Cold War. 
Consequently, Iran received assistance from Britain and the United States to conduct covert 
operations against the Soviet Union, its northern neighbor. 

In 1957 the United States and Israel cooperated with the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to 
create the National Security and Intelligence Organization known as SAVAK (Sazman-e 
Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar). Its objective was to protect the regime from internal opposition. 



8 "Ahmadinejad Is Cleaning Up the Ministry of Intelligence" [! ■^^ ^ jUSL lj CjLcSILI ^Jjj jI jj ls- 1 ^], Our South 
Azerbaijan [Iranian blog], August 2009, http://www.oursouthazerbaijan.com/osa_at.htm (accessed April 15, 2012). 
The reliability of the blog is questionable. "Reza Malek's Letter, the Former Deputy of the Ministry of Intelligence 
from Evin: Chain, House Arrest, Unknown Graves Will Not Keep Dictatorship [In Power]," Balatarin, May 1, 
2012, http://balatarin.eom/permlink/2012/5/2/3013377 (accessed May 21, 2012). Balatarin is a popular Iranian 
community Web site, which posts mostly anti-Iranian government news, blogs, etc. 

9 "A Man Called Saeed Emami," Iran Terror Database, January 22, 2006, http://www.iranterror.com/content/view/ 
178/26/ (accessed March 21, 2012). 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

SAVAK was also responsible for ensuring that communists and other leftist party members did 
not penetrate the armed forces or other government organizations. Although the main 
responsibility of SAVAK was domestic intelligence, it also engaged in external activities. 
SAVAK was mostly run by military personnel. After the 1979 Revolution, a published pamphlet 
showed the scope of SAVAK activities, demonstrating that SAVAK was a full-scale intelligence 
agency with 15,000 full-time agents and thousands of part-time informants. 1 

SAVAK initially was created to counter the Tudeh Party (Communist Party in Iran 
supported by the former Soviet Union), but it gradually expanded its activities and became a 
sophisticated intelligence agency. SAVAK was directly in touch with the Office of the Prime 
Minister, and its director was assumed to be the deputy of the prime minister for national- 
security affairs. Many well-defined investigative methods were designed to monitor all types of 
political activity. SAVAK dedicated a censorship office to monitoring journalists, literary 
figures, and academics across the nation. Many organizations, including universities, labor 
unions, and peasant organizations, were under intense surveillance by SAVAK. Over time, 
SAVAK evolved into an organization above the law by acquiring legal authority to arrest 
assumed antiregime activists, some of whom remained in jail without any record for extended 
periods. As a result, SAVAK earned a worldwide reputation as a brutal intelligence agency. 11 

In the early 1960s, SAVAK's main concern was the Soviet-allied Tudeh Party and, to a 
lesser extent, other opposition groups, including nationalist, secular, and liberal parties. In the 
early 1950s, the Tudeh Party had supported Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh because of 
his effort to nationalize Iran's oil industry. However, this support vanished during the 1953 coup 
that was backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the British to oust Mossadegh's 
popular government. Opposed to a takeover of their oil interests, the British supported Operation 
AJAX, which helped the shah regain power. 1 

In the early 1960s, the regime successfully suppressed increased protests by the opposition 
against the shah, with SAVAK silencing dissenters by penetrating their organizations and 
arresting them. Such was the case with many university students, who after 1963 waged guerrilla 



10 Oliver Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," UK Defence Forum, December 2011, 
2, http://www.ukdf.org.uk/assets/downloads/RS84CIraninsightsIran%E2%80% 

99sintelligenceandsecurityapparatusx.pdf (accessed March 22, 2012); Helen Chapin Metz, ed., Iran: A Country 
Study (Washington, DC: GPO for the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1989), http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ 
frd/cs/irtoc.html (accessed May 2, 2012). 
Metz, ed., Iran: A Country Study. 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

warfare against the shah's regime. The same was true of the communist group "Fadayi 
Guerrilla," which received training from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and 
other groups affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). SAVAK also closely 
monitored dissident students abroad and plotted assassinations of opposition figures in exile. 13 

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian intelligence functioned like intelligence 
organizations in every other revolutionary country — it identified and eradicated opponents and 
defectors inside and outside of the country. Thus, collecting information was not the priority. At 
this time, the PLO was providing the most foreign information to the Iranian government. 
However, the Soviet KGB allegedly used this exchange of information to feed the revolutionary 
government inaccurate information as a way of complicating the United States-Iran relationship 
more than was already the case after the Revolution. 

From the beginning of the Revolution in 1979, internal security was in the hands of Islamic 
Revolutionary Kumitehs (literally, committees), which Ayatollah Khomeini ordered to be 
formed because of concerns that a police force might be more loyal to the shah than to the new 
revolutionary regime. People established Kumitehs in their neighborhoods in places such as 
police stations, mosques, and youth centers. In addition to having responsibility for security, 
each Kumiteh had a unit to gather information (intelligence) on its neighbors. Ayatollah 
Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, who was one of the revolutionaries close to Ayatollah 
Khomeini, was in charge of the Kumitehs. Kumitehs may have operated under the Ministry of 
Interior. 15 Other groups were involved in gathering information as well, including judges who 
were in charge of cases dealing with sabotage by opposition groups and with counter- 
intelligence. 

The interim government and the Revolutionary Council formed by Ayatollah Khomeini to 
lead the Revolution while he was exiled in Paris endeavored to revive parts of SAVAK, 
especially its eighth directorate, a counterintelligence unit in charge of monitoring foreign 
embassies and detecting espionage. This directorate focused on Eastern Bloc countries, in 
particular the Soviet Union, and Arab states. After the Revolution, Dr. EbrahimYazdi, the first 



12 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 2. 

13 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 3. 

14 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 4. 

15 "Untold [Incidents] About the Ministry of Intelligence" [i^5U=l ^Jjj J ^ **^], Aftab News [Tehran], 
September 6, 2005, http://www.aftabnews.ir/vdcc4xqs.2bqii81aa2.html (accessed May 18, 2012). Aftab News is a 
news Web site based in Iran, with a pro-government viewpoint. 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

minister of the revolution, broadened the directorate's jurisdiction by focusing on more countries 
and by continuing to use SAVAK personnel. 16 

In 1979-80 the revolutionary government created a variety of small agencies, but the most 
distinctive and prestigious was the National Intelligence and Security Agency (Sazman Ettela'at 
va Amniat Melli Iran — SAVAMA). It was built on SAVAK' s foundation. SAVAMA 
successfully used the same methods as SAVAK to collect foreign intelligence, while the Islamic 
Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was established to guard the Revolution and deal with 
domestic threats. Later, the IRGC became involved in foreign intelligence operations. 17 

The Iranian intelligence apparatus operated relatively successfully at the beginning of the 
revolutionary era. In July 1980, it uncovered the Nojeh Coup, an attempt to overthrow the new 
government by air force officers loyal to the shah. Then, the number of security and intelligence 
agencies increased dramatically, causing disorder in the intelligence system. As a consequence, 
Mohammad Ali Rajaei, the second president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, formed the Prime 
Minister's Intelligence Office (Daftar-e- Ettela'at Nokhostvaziri) in 1981. At this time, 
intelligence responsibilities were divided among the Prime Minister's Intelligence Office, the 
IRGC, the army, the Kumitehs, and the police force. 18 

In August 1983, parliament approved the formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran's 
Ministry of Intelligence and Security by merging three organizations that had had four 
continuous years of experience in dealing with foreign intelligence services and confronting 
antirevolutionary groups. The three intelligence organizations, which had been operating 
separately since 1979, were IRGC intelligence, the Kumitehs, and the Prime Minister's 
Intelligence Office. At that time, many former SAVAK agents were granted amnesty by 
religious leaders so that MOIS could benefit from their experience. Specifically, SAVAK agents 
were needed to boost Iran's intelligence capacity to deal with the war with Iraq in the 1980s. 19 



16 "Untold [Incidents] About the Ministry of Intelligence," [iiAc-5U=l dijjj jl ^U <c^U]. 

17 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 4. 

18 "Untold [Incidents] About the Ministry of Intelligence," [iiAc-5U=l dijjj jl ^U ajjSLj]. 

19 "Untold [Incidents] About the Ministry of Intelligence," [<iilo3U»l ^jljj j' ls^-* "tfiflj]; Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, 
"Who Is Saeed Emami?" [?i^ȣ (<^-U) is ^U\ au^], Hokoomat Nezami [Iranian blog], May 10, 2008, 
http://gavras.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%AF- 

%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C- 
%DA%A9%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%9F-%D8%A7%D9%85% DB%8C%D8%B 1 - 
%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%A8/ (accessed May 18, 2012). 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

The new ministry was charged with the development of a strong intelligence capability that 
could confront the intelligence agencies of Iran's enemies. These foreign agencies had penetrated 
antirevolutionary groups, and some had also infiltrated vital parts of the government during the 
Iran-Iraq war. Furthermore, the government had to deal with dissidents outside of the country 
who constantly opposed the Iranian government. 

Targeting externally based Iranian opponents of the Revolution was one of the main 
objectives of MOIS in the 1990s. The ministry was responsible for many terrorist attacks and 
assassinations of dissidents during this decade, such as the assassination of Shahpour Bakhtiar 
(the last prime minister under the shah). MOIS agents also were directly involved in the 
collection of information for the possible assassination of Salman Rushdie, an Indian-born author 
who wrote The Satanic Verses. Because of the alleged un-Islamic content of the book, Ayatollah 
Khomeini issued a fatwa in February 1989 calling on all good Muslims to kill Rushdie and his 
publishers. The assassination of four Iranian-Kurdish members of the Iranian Democratic Party 
of Kurdistan in Berlin at a Greek restaurant named "Mykonos" in 1992 received international 
attention. Kurds and other minority ethnic groups such as Baluchis, Turks, and Arabs come 
under MOIS's surveillance because these peoples seek independence from the central 
government. 21 

The "Chain Murders" in Iran were a series of assassinations that took place in the 1990s to 
silence Iranian dissident intellectuals. After an investigation, MOIS took responsibility for the 
murders by proclaiming that some of its agents committed these crimes without its awareness 
(see Key Historical Events and Setbacks, below). An Argentine court also blamed MOIS for 
enlisting Hezbollah to bomb the Israeli embassy and the Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1992 
and 1994. 22 However, the IRGC was responsible for these incidents, although MOIS certainly 



20 "How Did the Ministry of Intelligence Form?" [?^j^ JS^ ^j^-j- u'ji' ^IcilLI ^J jj], Khanevadeh Kooch [Iranian 
blog, Tehran], March 1, 2011, http://www.koooch.com/threadl703.html (accessed March 22. 2012). 

21 "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country"; "Mostafa Poormohammadi: I Had No Role in 
Chain Murders" [.^1^ Ls ^> ^1 »jj?Jj tiU J2 jj i^a^^jjj ^K i ,-ii ] ; BBC Persian, February 27, 2012), http://www.bbc. 
co.uk/persian/iran/2012/02/120227_132_pourmohamadi_iranian_murder.shtml (accessed May 17 2012); Alison 
Flood, "Salman Rushdie Reveals Details of Fatwa Memoir," Guardian [Manchester], April 12, 2012, http://www. 
guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/12/salman-rushdie-reveals-fatwa-memoir (accessed May 19, 2012); "Secret 
Execution of Four Arab Political Prisoners" [ )^y U ojljiU. <u ^. ij\j*.\ jji. :s j j c - lwU" cs-^j J-s-?- ^\s**-* pl^e-l <->jl jj 
iiA^ilLI ] ; Gooya News, June 21, 2012, http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2012/06/142395.php (accessed June 
21, 2012). Gooya News is a popular news Web site. It presents articles and news about the Iranian government's 
opposition. The reliability of the content on this Web site is relatively high. 

22 Muhammad Sahimi, "The Chain Murders: Killing Dissidents and Intellectuals 1988-1998," Tehran Bureau, PBS, 
January 5, 201 1, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/201 1/01/the-chain-murders-killing- 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

had some role in these operations. MOIS provided logistics, communication among the 
operatives, as well as documents needed for the operations. 

For the past decade, Iran's nuclear program has brought increased scrutiny by Western 
intelligence operatives in Iran. In return, MOIS has become more focused on countering foreign 
intelligence activities. The creation of a special counterintelligence unit and the capture of a 
number of alleged spies through MOIS's counterintelligence unit have in effect engaged Iran and 
its adversaries in an intelligence war. (Activities of MOIS in the early 2000s will be discussed 
throughout this report.) 

7. ORGANIZATION 

MOIS answers directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran. Although the president appoints the 
head of the ministry, the Supreme Leader must approve the appointment, and the president 
cannot remove the appointee without the Supreme Leader's approval. This principle was on 
display when President Ahmadinejad asked the current minister, Heydar Moslehi, to resign in 
April 201 1 because of disagreements between Moslehi and the president's adviser, Rahim 
Mashaei, who was assumed to be the architect of the president's policies and has many critics 
among conservatives (hard-liners). Following Moslehi's resignation, Supreme Leader Ali 
Khamenei refused to endorse Ahmadinejad's request and the president was forced to keep 
Moslehi in his cabinet. 

The following figure shows the place of MOIS in the hierarchy of Iran's intelligence 
agencies (see also Appendix: Figure 4). 



dissidents-and-intellectuals-1988-1998.html (accessed March 22, 2012). Tehran Bureau Web site claims to be an 
independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora; however, the tone of news published by this Web site 
is critical of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It started to collaborate with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the 
United States in September 2009; Muhammad Sahimi, "The Chain Murders," Tehran Bureau, PBS, December 14, 
2009, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/12/the-chain-murders-1988-1998.html (accessed 
March 22, 2012). 

23 "Iran, Argentina Clash over Jewish Center Bombing Iranian Cleric is Linked to Buenos Aires Bombing. That 
Killed 87 People in '94," Baltimore Sun, May 21, 1998, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1998-05-21/news/ 
1998141013_l_rabbani-iran-bombing (accessed March 22, 2012); "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and 
Outside of the Country." 

24 "Moslehi Fired by Ahmadinejad at Cabinet Meeting," Daneshjoo News, May 4, 2011, http://www.daneshjoonews. 
com/news/politics/7174-1390-02-14-15-43-38.html (accessed March 22). Daneshjoo News seems to be based in 
Iran. "Economist: Rahim Mashei Was Wiretapped by Moslehi" pj£ (J ^ ±j^> lj ^Li* ^j ^\^« ;i *) i njo jjjSI] ; BBC 
Persian, May 6, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2011/05/110506_u01_economist-moslehi.shtml (accessed 
May 18, 2012). 



10 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Indirectly Connected 
Directly Connected 



Iran's Supreme 
Leader 



T 



Armed Forces 



Supreme National 
Security Council 



President 




1 



General Staff of 
the Armed Forces 



Islamic 
Revolutionary 
Guards Corps 



Ground Force 






Ministry of 

Defense and 

Armed Forces 

Logistics 



Ministry of 

Intelligence and 

Security 



Air Force 



Other Ministries 



F V 



Ground Force 





Figure 1. Structure of Iran's Intelligence Agencies 

Source: Based on information from http://www.jerusalemreports.com/7nrf01201 and 
http://www.dolat.ir/NSite/Service/Cabine/?&Serv=6 



11 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



The ministries that operate under the president are listed in the following chart: 



President 



Ministry of Justice 



Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics 



Ministry of Information and Communications Technology 



Ministry of Education 



Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance 



Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance 



Ministry of Intelligence and Security 



Ministry of Jihad-and- Agriculture 



Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology 



Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare 



Ministry of Industries and Business 



Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports 



Ministry of Interior 



Ministry of Health and Medical Education 



Ministry of Energy 



Ministry of Transportation and Housing 



Ministry of Foreign Affairs 



Ministry of Petroleum 



Figure 2. Ministries under President 

Source: Based on information from http://dolat.ir/ 



12 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

According to Iran's constitution, the Supreme Leader sets the direction of foreign and 
domestic policies. He is commander in chief of the armed forces and controls intelligence 
operations. Hence, both MOIS and IRGC Intelligence, including the Quds Force, report directly 
to the Supreme Leader. 

The president is the second-highest-ranking official in Iran. However, the constitution 
limits his authority in such a way that it subordinates the entire executive branch — and 
specifically MOIS and a small number of other ministries including the foreign and oil 
ministries — to the Supreme Leader. 25 

Iran's intelligence apparatus is composed of a number of entities, one of which is MOIS. 
According to the Islamic Republic of Iran's constitution with regard to the establishment of the 
ministry, article 1 , clause 1 , requires military organizations to coordinate with MOIS on military 
intelligence. The same article, clause 2, requires all ministries, institutions, governmental 
companies, and military and police forces that gather specialized information to share it with 
MOIS and to provide MOIS with any other information it demands. The constitution also 
stipulates that MOIS is in charge of intelligence activities inside and outside of Iran. In addition, 
articles 5 and 6 define the responsibilities of the IRGC and the ministry and how they should 
cooperate. Article 5 requires the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to comply with the policy 
of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security with regard to combating domestic antirevolutionary 
dissidents, and the IRGC is entitled to collect, analyze, and produce information to identify the 
antirevolutionaries by way of helping MOIS. 

Thus, the IRGC and its external operational wing, the Quds Force, are required to report 
their activities to MOIS as the highest intelligence authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 
return, MOIS provides logistical support and handles the communications aspect of operations 
involving Quds Force operatives and foreign organizations that work with the Quds Force, such 
as Hezbollah. 7 

MOIS is the main organization involved in intelligence operations that protect national 
security by collecting information; however, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) 
determines national-security policies and makes sure the policies are aligned with the Supreme 



~ 5 "The Structure of Power in Iran," Iran Chamber Society, n.d., http://www.iranchamber.com/government/ 
articles/structure_of_power.php (accessed April 11, 2012). 

26 "Intelligence and Law." 

27 "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country." 

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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Leader's views. Article 176 of Iran's constitution established the Supreme National Security 
Council and charges it with responsibility for "preserving the Islamic Revolution, Iran's 
territorial integrity, and national sovereignty." The members of the council include the president; 
the head of the legislative branch (speaker of parliament); the head of the judiciary; the chief of 
the combined general staff of the armed forces; the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, and 
intelligence; and two representatives of the Supreme Leader of Iran, one of whom usually 
becomes the secretary of the council. The council may have temporary members, including the 
commander(s) of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the regular military (Artesh), as 
well as ministers or officials with responsibilities related to a specific issue. The Supreme Leader 
of Iran oversees the activities of the SNSC (see figure 3, below). 

Iran's Supreme National Security Council 



Permanent Members 
Temporary Members 



Minister of 
Intelligence 
ft Security 

I 



Minister of 
Foreign 
Affairs 







Head of 

Managment 

ft Planning 

Organization 






IRGC 

Commander 
in Chief 



Artesh 

Commander 

in Chief 




Figure 3. Organizational Chart of Iran's Supreme 
National Security Council 

Source: Compiled from information on http://www.rferl.org 

As mentioned previously, the IRGC is also involved in Iranian intelligence operations. The 
relationship between Supreme Leader Khamenei and IRGC leaders — established in 1980 at the 



^ "The Structure of Power in Iran"; "The Supreme National Security Council" [^ ^£*\ ts^ is'j->"], Iran 's Judicial 
Laws Bank [Tehran], n.d., http://libc.ir/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126: 139 1-01- 17-05-56- 



14 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

beginning of the Iran-Iraq war when Khamenei was minister of defense — has led to greater 
IRGC involvement in many aspects of the government. The uncompromising support of the 
Supreme Leader for the IRGC has turned this organization into the most powerful entity in the 
Iranian government in several sectors, including the military and economy, as well as in the 
political arena (for instance, in the current administration, more than half of the ministers are 
IRGC officers). 29 Consequently, in the intelligence field, the IRGC is highly active as well. The 
Quds Force (mainly in charge of extraterritorial operations beyond Iran's borders) and IRGC 
Intelligence are two other effective intelligence organizations of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
whose work parallels that of MOIS. IRGC Intelligence initially operated as a directorate called 
the IRGC Intelligence Directorate from the time of the establishment of the IRGC in 1980. After 
the 2009 presidential election, the IRGC Intelligence Directorate continued its activities in the 
form of an "organization" that receives orders from the Supreme Leader of Iran. 30 

The creation of yet other intelligence organization in Iran took place when Mohammad 
Khatami became president in 1997. Lack of trust in the new administration because of Khatami's 
more liberal views led the Supreme Leader to create and rely on other intelligence groups, such 
as the IRGC, the police, and judicial intelligence. After Ahmadinejad's election as president in 
2005 and because of numerous disagreements between him and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah 
Khamenei decided to keep the IRGC Intelligence Organization as an alternative organization that 
would work parallel to MOIS — because the president can influence the ministry's direction one 
way or another, whereas the IRGC is completely under the Supreme Leader's command. 
Article 6 of the constitution indicates that IRGC Intelligence's duties are 

• to supply military intelligence; 

• to obtain the necessary information from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security before 
carrying out any operation ordered by judicial authorities (the IRGC is one of the 
organizations that acts as the executive arm of Iran's judicial system); and 



00&catid=55:1391-01-14-ll-53-01&Itemid=70 (accessed September 6, 2012). 

29 Elliot Hen-Tov and Nathan Gonzalez, "The Militarization of Post-Khomeini, Iran: Praetorianism 2.0" 
(Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, Winter 201 1), 50, https://csis.org/files/ 
publication/twql lwinterhentovgonzalez.pdf (accessed May 22, 2012). 

30 "Iran's Minister of Intelligence: The Intelligence [Forces] Working Parallel [with MOIS] Have to Be Stopped" 
[^ a&J. jh^'^U ^JS lsjIjx LSjk. jjL ijIjjI cAc'SU jjjj], BBC Persian, May 29, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ 
persian/iran/2012/05/120529_139_intelligence_paraller-activities.shtml (accessed May 29, 2012). 

31 "Iran's Minister of Intelligence: The Intelligence [Forces] Working Parallel [with MOIS] Have to Be Stopped." 

15 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

• to deliver intelligence to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. 

The Quds Force works closely with MOIS. In fact, it appears that the Quds Force operates as 
an external intelligence arm of Iran, whereas MOIS focuses more on internal affairs. However, 
MOIS is integral to operations outside of Iran in the following cases: 

• infiltrating Iranian opposition groups; 

• creating terrorist networks and military groups (also the Quds Force's area of interest); 

• identifying external threats, specifically those aimed at Iran's nuclear activity, and 
countering foreign intelligence agencies such as the CIA and Mossad; 

• disseminating of misinformation; and 

• acquiring technology for Iran's military industry. 

There is no clear division of powers and responsibilities between MOIS and the IRGC 
Intelligence Organization, and analysts believe this lack of definition of their responsibilities and 
their overlapping jurisdictions have caused friction between them. Apparently in some cases, the 
IRGC's Quds Force and IRGC Intelligence do not share information with MOIS as they are 
supposed to do. This gap was wider when Khatami was president, and many reformists held key 
positions at the ministry. After the 2009 presidential election, the IRGC blamed MOIS for not 
fulfilling its duties, claiming that was why the disputed election (of Ahmadinejad) caused 
massive and unprecedented turmoil. 34 

In 1996 the Iranian government created an organization called the Supreme Council for 
Intelligence Affairs under the minister of intelligence and security to coordinate policies with the 
Supreme National Security Council. The minister of intelligence and security is in charge of the 
Supreme Council for Intelligence Affairs. The umbrella organization has 20,000 employees and 
12 different departments. 35 The objective of creating this council is not clear; however, it may be 
assumed that the Islamic Republic is trying to create a system parallel to the SNSC to ensure that 
each council's functions are aligned with the views of the Supreme Leader. 



2 "Intelligence and Law." 



33 "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country." 

34 "Iran's Minister of Intelligence: The Intelligence [Forces] Working Parallel [with MOIS] Have to Be Stopped"; 



35 



'Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country." 

Carl Anthony Wege, "Iranian Intelligence Organizations," Taylor Francis Online, 1997, 288, http://www. 
tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08850609708435351 (accessed March 22, 2012). 

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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



According to available information, MOIS has 15 directorates: 1) Security, 
2) Counterintelligence, 3) Foreign [Operations], 4) Security Investigation (Hefazat, which means 
"protection" in Farsi), 5) Technology, 6) Politics, 7) Evaluation and Strategic Affairs, 
8) Education, 9) Research, 10) Archives and Documents, 11) Manpower, 12) Administration and 
Finance, 13) Legal-Parliamentary [Relations], 14) Economy, and 15) Cultural-Social. 

Little information is available about these directorates, but MOIS has multiple offices, 
which are shown below (see table 1). It is believed that the Security Directorate has a vital role in 
the organization, possibly because its responsibility is directly related to national security. 37 

There is a special section in MOIS called the Department of Disinformation that operates 
either as an independent directorate or under one of the following directorates (for more 
information, see Control of Media section, under Methods of Operation and Tactics, below). 



Table 1. MOIS Directorates and Subordinate Offices 


Name of Directorate 


Name of Office(s) 


Security 


Office of Security, Office of Operations, Office of 
Protection 


Counterintelligence 


Office of Counterintelligence 


Foreign [Operations] 


Office of Europe, Office of Africa, Office of the 
Americas, Office of the United States, Office of the 
Middle East, Office of Palestine and Israel, Office 
of Asia and the Pacific 


Security Investigation 


Office of Security Investigations, Office of 
Complaints 


Technology 


Office of New Technology, Office of Spying 
Technology 


Politics 


Office of Politics 


Evaluation and Strategic Affairs 


Office of Evaluation 


Education 


Office of Education 


Research 


Office of Research 


Archives and Documents 


Office of Archives and Documents 


Manpower 


Office of Manpower, Office of Welfare Service 



36 "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security" [^^1 lsjjs-*^ ^jLc-^U=I ^j'jj 

dj'jti'], Varzesh 77[Iranian blog], August 22, 201 1, http://www.varzeshl Lblogfa.com/cat-417.aspx (accessed May 
21, 2012). The reliability of this blog is questionable; however, the information in this report from this blog is 
widely distributed on other blogs as well. 

37 Ebrahimi, "Who is Saeed Emami?"; "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security" 
[u'j^ u*^ lSjjs**- i-i^5Q=l cjjI j J ] j Hokoomat Nezami [Iranian blog], n.d., http://gavras.wordpress.com/ 
2008/05/10/%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C- 
%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%9F-%D8%A7% 
D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D9%81%D8%B1%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%A8/ (accessed 
May 18, 2012); Daniel M. Zucker, "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear," Global 
Politician, September 3, 2007, http://www.globalpolitician.com/23386-vevak-iran (accessed May 21, 2012). 



17 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Table 1. MOIS Directorates and Subordinate Offices 


Name of Directorate 


Name of Office(s) 


Administration and Finance 


Office of Finance, Office of Administration 


Legal-Parliamentary Relations 


Office of Legal Relations, Office of Parliamentary 
Relations 


Economy 


Office of Economy, Office of Fighting Corruption 


Cultural-Social 


Cultural Office, Social Office 



Source: http://www.varzeshl 1. blogfa.com/cat-417.aspx 

8. PRINCIPAL LEADERS 

According to a 1983 act of parliament, the minister of intelligence and security must have the 
following qualifications: 38 

• possess a religious school degree in "ijtihad;" 

• not be a member of any party or group; 

• have a reputation of personal integrity and piety; and 

• have a history of integrity in politics and management. 

The first minister of intelligence and security of the Islamic Republic of Iran was Mohammad 
Reyshahri. He was one of the founders of this organization who sought to develop its policies 
and practices (see fig. 4, below). 

When Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani became president in 1989, Ali Fallahian was appointed 
minister of intelligence and security, a position he held for eight years. Many terrorist attacks 
against the Islamic Republic's opponents took place after he became minister, including the 1992 
attack on Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders in Berlin, which is known as the "Mykonos 
Assassinations"; the bombing of an Israeli- Argentine community center in Buenos Aires, 
Argentina, in 1994; and the attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Fallahian is 
still being sought under an international warrant issued for his arrest in 1996 by a German court 
because of his role in the deaths of the Iranian-Kurdish leaders. 40 



8 "Intelligence and Law." 



39 The term ijtihad means to draw and infer religious opinion about matters not mentioned in Islamic sources such as 
the Quran, the words of the Prophet, and religious leaders (imams). The opinion must elucidate Islamic faith and 
practice. 

40 "Masters of Disinformation," Iran Terror Database; "Iran's Secretive Quds Force Has Terror Links," Soldier of 
Fortune, October 12, 2011, http://www.sofmag.com/iran%E2%80%99s-secretive-quds-force-has-terror-links 
(accessed March 22, 2012); Saeed Bayani, "Vali Faqih and Terror at Mikonos Restaurant" [ u'jj^j J J jjj 2 j ^ J J 
wyJ^\, Radio Zamaneh, August 17, 2010, http://www.radiozamaneh.com/politics/2011/08/17/6276 (accessed 
March 22, 2012). Radio Zamaneh was founded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs but in content is an 
independent broadcasting organization; however, the tone of the articles and news on this Web site is critical of the 

18 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

After Mohammad Khatami became president in 1997, Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi 
succeeded Fallahian. When he was in charge of the ministry, "the Chain Murders of Iran" 
occurred. Because of the wide international publicity given to this event, he was forced to resign. 
Many Iranian analysts believe that Fallahian was actually behind all of the assassinations and 
that he plotted the terrorist attacks against dissident writers and intellectuals. 

The next minister, also during Khatami's presidency, was Ali Younesi. During his term, 
when the ministry became more involved in economic activities, he stopped the accumulation of 
power and wealth at the ministry in order to prevent corruption. He had many opponents among 
conservatives in Iran because of his more liberal views. 

After Ahmadinejad's election as president in 2005, he appointed Gholam-Hossein Mohseni 
Eje'i as minister of intelligence and security. However, because of a conflict between Eje'i and 
Ahmadinejad over presidential adviser Rahim Mashei, Eje'i resigned at the end of 
Ahmadinejad's first administration. Heydar Moslehi replaced Eje'i. Under Moslehi, the ministry 
captured Abdolmalek Rigi, the head of Jondollah, an opposition group active in southeast Iran, 
and arrested many operatives involved in espionage networks in Iran. His use of the media to 
publicize the success of the ministry made him popular among hard-liners in Iran. 43 

An examination of the backgrounds of the different ministers of intelligence and security 
leads to the following observations: 

• Most graduated from the Qum-based Haghani School, a Shi'a school controlled by a 
group of hard-line right-wing clerics. 

• All of them were educated in law, either in academic or religious schools. 

• Many had served in posts (e.g., prosecutors, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, 
attorney general) in the judicial branch of the government. 



Iranian government; Sahimi, "The Chain Murders," 2009; Sahimi, "The Chain Murders: Killing Dissidents and 
Intellectuals 1988-1998," 2011. 

41 Jamshid Barzegar, "Akbar Ganji: The Chain Murders Was a Government Project" [ Ojjj ls 1 °J£?AJ lS^ J^ :ls^ j£' 
jjj^jSU. c sl] j BBC Persian, December 7, 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2010/12/101207_ganji_serial_ 
murders. shtml (accessed March 22, 2012). 

42 "If Applicable Law Does Not Prohibit Money Laundering, the Government Will Be Charged" [ ^^jj ^ uj&* 
ijt'is* t^" ^j J ' J j^J lj?-l], Khabar Online [Tehran], December 14, 2008, http://www.khabaronline.ir/detail/755/ 
(accessed April 11, 2012). Khabar Online is a news Web site in Iran with a pro-Iranian government viewpoint. 

43 "Member of Parliament's Defense for Mohseni Eje'i" [ls' O' u^" 3 -" j' <_>°V^ J&±u{^ £lAs], Farda News [Tehran], 
July 27, 2009, http://www.fardanews.com/fa/news/87456/%D8%AF%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9- 
%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%8A%D9%86%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86- 
%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86%DB%8C- 
%D8%A7%DA%98%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C (accessed November 12, 2012). 

19 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



• All had a conservative political and religious ideology. 

• All were clerics (that is, they were required by law to possess a degree in ijtihad from a 
religious school. 44 

Moslehi, the current minister of intelligence and security, has stated on different occasions 
that most of the ministry's intelligence collection is based on information received from the 
public. The ministry has set up a three-digit number (113) for Iranians to call to report suspicious 
activities. 45 



44 "Milani and Ashkevari Speak About the Haghani School," YouTube, November 14, 201 1, http://www.youtube. 
com/watch?v=oabDKk49BzI (accessed April 11, 2012); on ijtihad, see footnote 39. 

45 "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow — Heydar Moslehi, the Minister of Intelligence," YouTube, February 24, 2011, 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9wT31jkhf8 (accessed April 11, 2012); "Introduction to the Ministry of 
Intelligence Public Relations" [iiAtiUal <^J jj ^j*^ -Mjj k lsP^], Jame Jam Online [Tehran], February 11, 2009, 
http://www.jamejamonline.ir/papertext.aspx7newsnunFl00898806386 (accessed April 11, 2012). 

20 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



* 





* Alumnus of the Haghani School 

* Chief of Army's Revolutionary Court 

* Minister of Intelligence and Security 

* Chief Prosecutor of the Special 
Court for the Clergy 



Mir Hussein Mousavi 
1981-1989 



Mohammad Reyshahri (1984-1989) 





* Alumnus of the Haghani School 

* Prosecutor of the Special Court 
for the Clergy 

* Minister of Intelligence and Security 

* Deputy Attorney General 
of Islamic Revolution 

* Member of the Assembly of Experts 



Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani 
1989-1997 



AM Fallahian (1989-1997) 





* Alumnus of the Haghani School 

* Parliament member 

* Member of the Assembly of Experts 

* Minister of Intelligence and Security 

* Attorney General 



Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi (1997-2000) 



Mohammad Khatami 
1997-2005 




* Alumnus of the Haghani School 

* Head of the Politico-Ideological 
Bureau of the IRGC 

* Head of the Islamic Revolutionary 
Court 

* Minister of Intelligence and Security 



AM Younesi (2000-2005) 





Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 
2005-Present 



* Alumnus of the Haghani School 

* Prosecutor of the Special Clerical 
Court 

* Attorney General 



Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Eje'i (2005-2005) 



* Representative of the Supreme 
Leader of Iran in many government 
organizations 

* Masters Degree in International Law 

* Minister of Intelligence and Security 




Heydar Moslehi (2009-Present) 



Figure 4. Iran's Ministers of Intelligence and Security in Successive 
Administrations, 1981-Present 

Source: Compiled from multiple sources used in the preparation of this report. 



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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Saeed Hajjarian 

Source: http://www.rferl.org 



fj^^f | Many deputies have led the different 

|p(W^^^^^ -a^ H directorates of MOIS since its establishment, 

W but only a few were important figures in the 

I Wl\ organization. One of them was Saeed Hajjarian, 

| one of the founders of the ministry. It is 

believed that he was the real brains of the 
Iranian intelligence system after the Revolution. 
He became the deputy of the first minister of 
intelligence and security (Reyshahri) after the 
ministry's establishment in 1984 and designed and organized the intelligence apparatus of the 
Islamic Republic. When Fallahian, the second minister, a hard-line cleric, came to office, 
Hajjarian left the ministry because he believed the new minister had a controversial reputation. 
Hajjarian and other leftist revolutionaries recognized that Iran needed a political opening; 
otherwise, the Islamic Republic would not last. Thus, he became the leading strategist for the 
reform movement in Iran. After Khatami's election as president in 1997, Khatami appointed 
Hajjarian as his adviser. In 2000 Hajjarian was assassinated by hard-liners. 4 

Saeed Emami (or Saeed Eslami) was the director 
of the Security Directorate and the most controversial 
MOIS deputy because he was in charge of the operation 
known as the "Chain Murders" that assassinated Iranian 
intellectuals in the 1990s. His scholarship to study in the 
United States in 1977 and his family's background (they 
were affiliated with the shah's regime) raised questions 
about his loyalty and suitability for employment by 
MOIS. Under Reyshahri's tenure, Emami held a key 
position in the Foreign Directorate. After Fallahian 
became minister of intelligence and security, Emami 
became director of the Security Directorate, the organization's main directorate. After a series of 
murders of Iranian intellectuals, which led President Khatami to conduct an investigation, 



46 




Saeed Emami 

Source: http://www.iradj- 

shokri.blogspot.com/ 



Muhammad Sahimi, "Reformist Strategist: Saeed Hajjarian," Tehran Bureau, PBS, July 8, 2009, http://www.pbs. 
org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/07/reformist-strategist-saeed-hajjarian.html (accessed 17 May, 2012). 



22 



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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Emami's role in those murders was exposed, and he was arrested. The ministry announced later 

that Emami committed suicide in prison. 7 

Mostafa Poormohammadi was the attorney general 
of the Islamic Revolutionary Court — a special court in Iran 
that tries those who are suspected of threatening the 
Revolution and Islam — in Khoozestan and Khorasan 
provinces before he became director of the MOIS 
^ Counterintelligence Directorate in 1987. In 1991 he became 
the deputy head of MOIS. In 1997-98 he held the position 
of director of the Foreign Directorate of MOIS. In 2005, 
after President Ahmadinejad's first election, he was the 
main candidate for minister of intelligence and security. 
However, he ended up as minister of interior. He was 

forced by Ahmadinejad to resign in 2008 because of serious disagreements with the president. 
At any given time, it is difficult to identify top personnel of MOIS other than the 

minister, but under the current administration, a man named Gerami seems to be the deputy head 




Mostafa Poormohammadi 

Source: 

http ://ar. electionsmeter. com/ 



of the ministry, and another man named Ahangaran appears to run the Technology Directorate 



49 



9. HEADQUARTERS 



50 



MOIS headquarters appears to be in North Tehran (see map and photos in Appendix) 



47 Ebrahimi, "Who is Saeed Emami?" 

48 "Mostafa Poormohammadi 's Biography" [ij^^jji ^ik"™ iaJa&uj], Hamshahri Online [Tehran], February 25, 
2008, http://hamshahrionline.ir/news-45214.aspx (accessed May 17, 2012); "Mostafa Poormohammadi: I Had No 
Role in the Chain Murders." 

49 "The Deputy of the Minister of Intelligence: Enemies' Aggression Is a Sign of Achievement by the Islamic 
Republic" \c^>\ <j«5LJ j»UkS ^jjj Citajaj: 41Ai ^tiuSj ftaigj nijlcMLI jjjj Oj 1 *^], Islamic Republic News Agency [Tehran], 
September 5, 201 1, http://irna.ir/NewsShow.aspx?NID=30550101 (accessed May 17, 2012). The Islamic Republic 
News Agency (IRNA) is the official news agency in Iran that speaks for the government. "The Ministry of 
Intelligence Deputy: The Internet Network Is a Spy" [£*»\ i_yj*h- <^"j5jjI i&-!^ ;iiJx.ilLI c*J jj Oj^], Aftab News 
[Tehran], April 5, 2012, http://www.aftabnews.ir/vdcbg0b88rhba5p.uiur.html (accessed May 17, 2012); "The 
Ministry of Intelligence Deputy: We Have Identified Two New Viruses" [ ^y- 1 ?- cs' ^Mj l^jj^j j j ;£A»5Ual £±Jjj jj 1 * - 

&j£ ^l^lii ], Aftab News [Tehran], January 19, 2012, http://aftabnews.ir/vdcdos0ffyt0os6.2a2y.html (accessed 
May 17, 2012). The full name of the deputies as well as the names of other directors of MOIS could not be found. 

50 "Satellite Image of the Ministry of Intelligence Building" [iiilcXLI t-ijljj i^L-J (jLuiLa jl ^1 ojIjaU o^-\ Anti- 
Dictator [Iranian blog], September 2009, http://zobin-cost.blogspot.com/2009/09/blog-post_03.html (accessed May 
16, 2012). This is an Iranian blog, which posts pictures and articles from other Web sites criticizing the Iranian 
government. 



23 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

10. COMMAND AND CONTROL 

MOIS has a secret budget and is not accountable to other governmental organizations, 
including the cabinet or the Majles (parliament). It remains above the law, accountable only to 
the Supreme Leader, at present Ayatollah Khamenei. 51 

As discussed above, the Supreme Leader of Iran determines the national-security policies of 
the Islamic Republic of Iran (see Organization). The president must have the Supreme Leader's 
approval to select his minister of intelligence and security because the Supreme Leader receives 
the minister's counsel and works with the minister directly for implementation of his policies. 
In terms of procedure, it appears that the Supreme Leader discusses and passes his general 
policies on to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and MOIS, as a member of the 
council, executes the policies with regard to intelligence activities. It also seems that the 
Supreme Leader may pass an order directly to the minister of intelligence and security for more 
secret and specific missions. 

11. MEMBERSHIP SIZE 

With more than 30,000 officers and support personnel, MOIS is ranked by experts as one of 
the largest and most active intelligence agencies in the Middle East. 53 

12. MEMBERSHIP AND RECRUITMENT 

The Iranian constitution (article 12) prohibits MOIS agents from being members of any 
political group or party. MOIS agents go through an extremely stringent vetting process before 
they can become part of MOIS' s missions and operations, which could implicate the highest 
government officials if exposed to the public. 54 

There are two ways to be recruited into MOIS. One way is to take the entrance examinations 
in specific majors requested by MOIS at Imam Mohammad Bagher University in Tehran. This 
university is associated with MOIS. MOIS accepts three times more candidates than it can 
accommodate and then puts them through physical, intelligence, and personality tests, as well as 
interviews and a background investigation. The physical examination at MOIS is less rigorous 



51 Zucker, "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear"; "Iran's Ministry of Intelligence 
and Security." 

52 "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country." 

53 Cyrus Maximus, "The Ministry of Intelligence and Security," Iran Channel, September 16, 2010, 
http://iranchannel.org/archives/357 (accessed April 11, 2012). 

54 Zucker, "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear"; "Intelligence and Law." 

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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



than at other governmental training facilities in the army or special forces. It is a requirement to 
be healthy, but the intelligence and personality tests are more important than the physical test. 
These tests are conducted at the Intelligence Bureau in Hamedan, a city in western Iran. 
Interviews take place in selection units within MOIS's provincial intelligence agencies. 55 

The Intelligence School of Imam Mohammad Bagher University in 2012 accepted students 
in the following majors for undergraduate degrees: 5 



Major Orien 


tation 


Gender 


Capacity 


Political Science 


Security Studies 


Male 


100 


Social Science 


Security Studies 


Male 


100 


Management 


Intelligence and Communications 
Management 


Male 


100 



It also accepted students for master's degrees in the following majors: 



57 



Group Majo 


• 


Orientation 


Gender 


Capacity 


Liberal Arts 


Political Science 


Security Studies 


Male 


38 


Technology and 
Engineering 


Electronic- 
Telecommunications 
Engineering 


Electronic Data 


Male 


19 


Science 


Forensic Science 


Biology and 

chemical 

information 


Male 





Every year the ministry publicly announces opportunities for studies in various fields 
according to its needs. 58 

Another way to be recruited into MOIS is to obtain a recommendation from a MOIS 
employee. MOIS staff usually recommend their relatives and those with whom they have a close 



5 "How to Be Hired at the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security" [ <->jOj J J j»biU cs^j^-j- 
jIjjI ^iLJ lsjj^a*. iiilciUal^ Efshagari [Iranian blog], June 9, 2010, 

http://efshagary.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/%DA%86%DA%AF%D9%88%D9%86%DA%AF%D9%8A- 
%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%B1- 
%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA- 
%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA- 
%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1/ (accessed April 10, 2012). 

56 "Introduction to the School of Intelligence Is Online" [^j^ J J* ^4^ lSjj ji ^1-tilLI »j£-iib ^j*-], Bargh Arshad 
(Iranian blog) [Tehran], July 16, 2012, http://bargharshad. blogfa.com/post/100 (accessed September 13, 2012). 

7 "Introduction to the School of Intelligence Is Online" [^j^ J J* ^4-^ lsjj ji ^IcilLI »j£-iJb ^j*" 1 ]- 



25 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

relationship. The selection units send the candidates to the MOIS health centers in their home 
provinces. After confirmation of their health, the candidates go to Hamedan to take the 
intelligence and personality tests. If the candidates pass, MOIS officers interview them about 
Iranian cultural, economic, political, and social issues. The interviews and background 
investigations can take from nine months to more than two years. Successful candidates then 
enter Imam Mohammad Bagher University to receive intelligence training. After an assessment 
of their talents, the candidates will be assigned to one of the offices in their respective provinces 
of residence. The salary scale depends on the location and the office to which the candidate is 
assigned. Employees in the Directorate of Security and agents who are active in the 
counterterrorism and intelligence sections of MOIS most likely receive the highest salaries. 
MOIS staff receive an alias when they enter the organization. 5 

The terms and conditions for applicants are: 

belief in Islam; 

Iranian citizenship and belief in velayat faqih and the Islamic Republic; 

sound mental and physical health as checked by MOIS physicians; 

no commitment to other governmental organizations; 

minimum high school grade of 12 (out of 20) for Science and Mathematics and 14 (out of 
20) for other majors; and 

maximum 22 years of age for undergraduate and 27 for graduate students. 60 

MOIS also recruits outside of Iran. From 1990-93, MOIS recruited former members of 
Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) — also known as the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) or MKO — 
in Europe and used them to launch a disinformation campaign against MEK. MEK is an anti- 
Islamic Republic group that has a mixed philosophy of Islam and Marxism. It was formed in the 
1960s and had a major role in Iran's Revolution. However, after the Revolution and because of 
ideological differences with the government, the Islamic Republic recognized MEK as a threat to 
the Revolution. Beginning in late 1980, Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath regime in Iraq became 



58 , 

59 , 



Introduction to the School of Intelligence Is Online" [^j^ Jj? ^-4*» lSjj ji iiilcilLI .sSLiib ^j*-]. 

How to Be Hired at the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security"; "Five Major Duties of 



VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country." 

60 "Introduction to the School of Intelligence Is Online" [>-*£ J J* ^^ lsjj ji <-^5U=l eiSJ^h ^j*^]. 



26 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



major supporters of the group. MEK has made numerous terrorist attacks on Iranian interests 
inside and outside of Iran. The Iranian government and its intelligence apparatus consider MEK 
the most serious dissident organization with regard to the Revolution. 

MEK's main base is Camp Ashraf in Iraq. With the fall of the Ba'ath regime in Iraq in 2003, 
the group lost this major support. After the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, MOIS made 
anti-MEK psychological warfare one of its main objectives, but MEK nonetheless has remained 
a viable organization. Aside from MEK, MOIS assassins also targeted opposition figures in cities 
abroad such as Baghdad, Berlin, Dubai, Geneva, Istanbul, Karachi, Oslo, Paris, Rome, and 
Stockholm. 61 

The recruitment of a British subject, Anne 
Singleton, and her Iranian husband, Masoud 
Khodabandeh, provides a relevant example of 
how MOIS coerces non-Iranians to cooperate. 
She worked with MEK in the late 1980s. Masoud 
Khodabandeh and his brother Ibrahim were both 

members of MEK at the time. In 1996 Masoud 
Khodabandeh decided to leave the organization. 
Later, he married Anne Singleton. Soon after their 
marriage, MOIS forced them to cooperate by threatening to confiscate Khodabandeh' s mother's 
extensive property in Tehran. Singleton and Khodabandeh then agreed to work for MOIS and 
spy on MEK. In 2002 Singleton met in Tehran with MOIS agents who were interested in her 
background. She agreed to cooperate with MOIS to save her brother-in-law's life — he was still a 
member of MEK at the time. During her stay in Tehran, she received training from MOIS. After 
her return to England, she launched the iran-interlink.org Web site in the winter of 2002. After 
she made many trips to Iran and Singapore — the country where the agency contacts its foreign 
agents — MEK became doubtful of Singleton and Khodabandeh's loyalty to the organization. In 
2004 Singleton finally met her brother-in-law, Ibrahim, who was sent from Syria to Iran after the 




Anne Singleton and Masoud 

Khodabandeh 

Source: http://www.mesconsult.com/ 



"Masters of Disinformation," Iran Terror Database, November 22, 2005, 2, http://www.iranterror.com/ 
index2.php?option=com_content&do _pdf=l&id=l 13 (accessed April 1 1, 2012); "Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK)," 
Federation of American Scientists, Intelligence Resource Program, July 13, 2004, http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ 
mek.htm (accessed May 18, 2012). 



27 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

Syrians arrested him (it appears that Syrians closely cooperate with MOIS). Eventually, MOIS 
forced him to cooperate as well. 62 

After Ahmadinejad became president, MOIS re-energized its Foreign Directorate for the 
recruitment of foreigners. Sizable budgets allow MOIS not only to recruit jihadists in Iraq and 
Afghanistan but also to hire spies and agents to conduct disinformation campaigns. The method 
of recruitment for foreigners is almost the same as for Iranians. MOIS agents identify potential 
candidates and then approach them. If the individuals respond positively, the Iranian embassy in 
their respective countries of residence contacts them and, before sending them to Iran, holds an 
informal interview under some pretext such as a visit or seminar. When candidates are in Iran, 
MOIS or the Quds Force examines their potential as agents. Candidates willing to cooperate are 
sent to bases around Tehran or to Qum for training. MOIS recruits its foreign agents mainly from 
Muslim countries, specifically Iraq and Lebanon, and then from other Shi' a countries. MOIS has 
centers of recruitment for foreigners in Persian Gulf countries, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, 
Palestine, Europe, East and South Asia, and North and South America (especially the Tri-border 
Area with its large population of Lebanese). 63 

13. TRAINING AND INDOCTRINATION 

Selected candidates receive training in Tehran and Qum. The MOIS School of Intelligence, 
established in 1986 by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, is responsible for training MOIS 
agents. The selection units of MOIS choose candidates for training and then hire them (see 
Membership and Recruitment, above). The political science department offers training in 
strategic studies and security studies to male and female students, although MOIS does not 
always admit female students. To be selected for training, one must be at most 27 years of age 
and have faith and a commitment to Islam and to the concept of velayat faqih (Guardianship of 
the Islamic Jurists), a Shi'a theory developed by the Iranian government that gives the faqih 
custodianship over Muslims. (Since the Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini and currently Ayatollah 
Khamenei have both carried this title.) However, MOIS's recruitment of Christians, Sunnis, and, 



62 Zucker, "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear." 

63 "Five Major Duties of VAVAK Inside and Outside of the Country." 



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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



as previously mentioned, even Jews, shows that it is possible to hire agents who do not subscribe 



to velayat faqih 



64 



14. METHODS OF OPERATION AND TACTICS 
14.1 Operations 

The Ministry of Intelligence and Security operates through a variety of methods and 
tactics. Agents may operate undercover as diplomats in Iranian embassies or in other occupations 
in companies such as Iran Air, branches of Iranian banks, or even in private businesses. It is 
thought that many Iranians who are employed in foreign educational organizations such as 
universities also may work for MOIS; because they have to go back to Iran often — perhaps for 
immigration issues or scholarships given by the Iranian government or for other reasons — they 
may cooperate with MOIS. To transfer money for operations, MOIS usually uses state-controlled 
banks with branches in foreign countries. 5 

Lebanese Hezbollah and the Quds Force are also organizationally linked to MOIS (see 
fig. 1, above). Support for Hezbollah has been one of the main objectives of Iran's foreign 
policy. To counter threats from Israel, Iran provides Hezbollah with logistical and material 
support and uses Hezbollah as a proxy in Iran's intelligence operations. Such support is usually 
delivered under Iranian diplomatic auspices. An assessment of Iran's intelligence services in the 
1990s stated: "The largest European Al-Qods [Quds] facility was in the Iranian embassy in 
Germany. The embassy's third floor had twenty Qods [Quds] employees coordinating terrorist 
activities in Europe. . . Recently, major operational centers were established in Bulgaria, and Al- 
Qods [Quds] has attempted to establish another operational facility in Milan." 

Most Iranian foreign officers and diplomats have worked with MOIS, the IRGC, or other 
security agencies. MOIS works in coordination with the Foreign Ministry in operations carried 
out abroad, using Iranian embassies for collecting intelligence. MOIS and Quds Force agents 
receive diplomatic passports through the embassies. Moreover, the Quds Force is believed to 



64 "Q&A About Majoring in Schools with the Prospect of Employment at MOIS," Afkar-e-Now [Tehran], n.d., 
http://www.afkarenow.com/barname/Etelaat.htm (accessed 12 January, 2012); "Five Major Duties of VAVAK 
Inside and Outside of the Country." 

65 "Operations Ministry of Intelligence and Security [MOIS] Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar VEVAK," 
Federation of American Scientists, Intelligence Resource Program, August 11, 1997, http://www.fas.org/irp/world/ 
iran/vevak/org.htm (accessed April 11, 2012). 

66 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 6. 

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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

coordinate with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security through foreign embassies, charities, 
and cultural centers in targeted countries. 7 

The replacement of Iran's ambassador in Damascus in June 201 1 provides a relevant 
example of the use of intelligence officers as diplomats. The new ambassador, Habib Taherian, is 
a former MOIS deputy. This move may have resulted from an increase in covert activities among 
the government's opposition in Syria and from Iran's determination to support Syria during a 
period of hardship. Taherian also used to be the ambassador of the Islamic Republic in Brazil, 
another area of interest for Iran. Iran's expansion of intelligence activities into Latin America, 
alongside its growing economic, political, and cultural involvement there, has concerned the 
United States. 68 

MOIS infiltrates Iranian communities outside of Iran using a variety of methods. For 
instance, a society called "Supporting Iranian Refugees" in Paris is used to recruit Iranian asylum 
seekers to spy on Iranians in France. MOIS also has agents who abduct individuals abroad, 
return them to Iran, and then imprison or kill them. MOIS's tactics of penetrating and sowing 
discord within the opposition abroad are discussed in an article on a Web site affiliated with the 
current Iranian government. The article ("How Do Iranian Intelligence Forces Operate Outside 
of the Country?") discusses how Iran uses different mechanisms to penetrate the foreign-based 
opposition. MOIS uses its former members and/or people willing to cooperate with the ministry. 
They are sent to prison temporarily and become known as activists opposed to the Islamic 
Republic. After some time, no one questions their previous political activities; being a political 
prisoner is enough to be acknowledged as an opposition figure. Activists abroad may help get 
such a prisoner out of the country with the assistance of an international organization, or MOIS 
may send the prisoner abroad, calling him/her an "escaped dissenter." This mechanism of 
releasing political prisoners to go abroad sows mistrust within the opposition in exile. 69 



"Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security," Iran Focus; U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee 
on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, "Hezbollah in Latin America: 
Implications for U.S. Security," July 7, 201 1, 6 (statement of Douglas Farah), 
http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/Testimony%20Farah.pdf (accessed April 11, 2012). 

68 "The Minister of Intelligence Deputy Became Iran's Ambassador in Syria" [ ■Suj" jJ u'j^ j^" <-i^^y jjjj <jjUx 
■*"], Iran Briefing (Human Rights Violation by Iran 's Revolutionary Guards), June 20, 201 1, 
http://farsi.iranbriefing.net/?p= 12051 (accessed May 19, 2012). 

69 "How Do Iranian Intelligence Forces Operate Outside of the Country?" [ jl £ jU. jj £IjjI (j^^U cSAj* 3 lS^jjp jj^ 
?a£ ^ J*c <UjS-a.]. Khabar Online [Tehran], June 9, 2010, http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-67593.aspx (accessed 
April 4, 2012); Gholamali Bigdeli, "Condemnation of Two Ministry of Intelligence Agents at a Paris Court" 

30 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

14.2 Control of Media 

The ministry also engages in disinformation. The largest department within MOIS, the 
Department of Disinformation (Farsi: nefaq), uses psychological warfare and disinformation 
against the government's opponents. This department is also in charge of employing 
psychological warfare to manipulate the media and to mislead other intelligence agencies about 
Iran's intelligence and military capabilities. However, it is unclear exactly where this department 
is located in the ministry. As a matter of course, the department may spread news, which might 
be 80-90 percent reliable and 10-20 percent disinformation. Ali Younesi, the former minister of 
intelligence and security, reported on state television in October 2004 that the ministry's 
Department of Disinformation had hired thousands of agents, including some former MEK 
members, to boost the department's function. 70 

With respect to the Internet, for the past 10 years MOIS and two other governmental 
entities, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting 
(IRIB), have also sought to control Iranians' access to the Internet. This effort was intensified 
after the controversial presidential election in 2009. The government has imposed intelligence, 
technical, and cultural strategies to control access to the Internet. The head of the MOIS 
Counterintelligence Directorate has stated that "the Internet poses a danger to the world, and Iran 
is always on the lookout for spies." 71 These entities cooperate to block any sites that cause 
problems and to make sure that preferred sites continue to function. 7 

Control of the media and dealing with the opposition's internal and external media are 
additional MOIS responsibilities. The ministry targets television channels that advocate political 
and religious views antithetical to the Iranian government. MOIS also attempts to control 
domestic and foreign news and to pressure journalists in Iran. For instance, MOIS has requested 



[lWJ^ <>1£jIjjJ iiilcilLI ^jljj cWje jl <jj j-s iiii«jS^i] 5 Radio Koocheh, June 25, 2011, http://radiokoocheh.com/ 
article/1 13 1 1 1 (accessed April 4, 2012). Radio Koocheh is an Iranian Radio station that seems to broadcast from 
outside of Iran. It has a critical view of Iranian social and political issues. The reliability of this Web site varies. 

70 Zucker, "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear"; "Five Major Duties of VAVAK 
Inside and Outside of the Country." 

71 Open Source Center, "Regime Using Increasingly Sophisticated Measures to Control Cyberspace," July 28, 2010, 
https://www.opensource.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_200_203_0_43/content/Display/ 
15438541ZIAP20100728573001001.pdf (accessed March 22, 2012). 

72 Open Source Center, "When Did Filtration of Sites and Blogs Begin?" May 10, 2010, https://www.opensource. 
gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_200_203_121123_43/content/Display/IAP20100519338021#index=l& 
searchKey=7449847&rpp=10 (accessed March 22, 2012); Omeed Agilee, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Anti- 
Opposition Strategies in Social Media," June 16, 201 1 (paper submitted in the English for Heritage Language 
Speakers (EHLS) Program, Georgetown University, August 201 1). 

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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

that the government limit and control the presence of foreign journalists in Iran during future 
presidential elections. MOIS has warned the government not to repeat the same mistake it made 
in the previous controversial presidential election, which received broad coverage across the 
world. 73 

15. INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES 

Iran's various intelligence activities, including signals intelligence, human intelligence, 
and counterintelligence, as well as other aspects of its intelligence apparatus, most likely operate 
under the auspices of MOIS. MOIS closely cooperates with the IRGC in this regard. 

15.1 Signals and Cyber Intelligence 

Iran appears to be trying to expand its intelligence capabilities in the Middle East and the 
Mediterranean. For instance, Iran seems to have developed a signals intelligence (SIGINT) 
capability. Two Iranian-Syrian SIGINT stations funded by the IRGC reportedly have been active 
since 2006, one in the al-Jazirah region in northern Syria and the other on the Golan Heights. 
Iranians reportedly planned to create two additional SIGINT stations in northern Syria, which 
were expected to be in operation by January 2007, but no information indicates that they are 
currently operating. The technology at the two established SIGNIT stations indicates that Iran's 
capabilities are still limited, with little scope for high-level strategic intelligence gathering. The 
intelligence stations appear to concentrate on supplying information to Lebanese Hezbollah. 7 

In June 2010, the Stuxnet virus successfully targeted Iran's uranium-enrichment 
infrastructure. The success of this virus is an indication of the weakness of Iran's cyber 
development. In the summer of 201 1, Iran created a "cyber command" in order to block 
incoming cyber attacks and to carry out cyber attacks in reprisal. 75 



73 "Intelligence Organizations Increase Their Control over Foreign Media in Iran" [ lj Jja. Jjj£ ^LtilLl ^U (jUjL* 
■^ ls* L&U*' ljLm' j j <j*-J*- ls 1 -* ^^jjj], Gooya News, May 15, 2012, http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/ 
2012/05/140573.php (accessed May 17, 2012). 

74 



75 



Jones, "Iran Insights - Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 7. 

"Factbox: What Is Stuxnet?" Reuters, September 24, 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/24/us- 
security-cyber-iran-fb-idUSTRE68N3PT20100924 (accessed April 4, 2012); Jones, "Iran Insights— Iran's 
Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 7. 



32 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

Iran also has the capacity to collect intelligence through reconnaissance aircraft. This 
capability, however, is limited to small military operations that use only a few reconnaissance 

i 76 

planes. 

15.2 Human Intelligence 

Iran has been extremely active in the area of human intelligence (HUMIT). Iran's ability to 
collect information is highly organized and focused on neighboring countries. As already noted, 
Iran has used diplomatic channels to carry out intelligence operations. There are numerous 
instances in which Iranian diplomats have carried weapons into other countries in diplomatic 
pouches. However, Iran has been careless about providing cover for its agents. Consequently, on 
various occasions, security officers of other countries have been able to detect Iranian agents. 77 

Despite Iran's noted strength in human intelligence, its technical capabilities are 
underdeveloped. Its HUMINT operations have previously shown weaknesses in neighboring 
countries with sophisticated intelligence systems. For instance, the intelligence officers sent to 
Iraq after the invasion of American-led coalition forces in 2003 took advantage of the instability 
there in order to engage in covert operations, and at least some of them were exposed. Iran has 
deployed many agents to Iraq to influence Iraqi elected officials and to train Iraqi rebel groups. 
Iran also has intelligence networks in other Middle Eastern countries, chiefly in Shi'a-majority 
countries and in countries with unpopular Sunni rulers. For instance, in 2010 and 201 1 two 
Iranian networks were exposed in Kuwait and Bahrain. 7 

Iran's expansion of intelligence activities to Latin America, alongside its growing 
economic, political, and cultural involvement there, has been a source of concern for the United 
States. Iran's HUMINT has been successful through cooperation with the Quds Force and 
Lebanese Hezbollah, which help gather intelligence from the Shi 'a population living in Latin 
American countries. 

15.3 Counterintelligence 

The United States obtained intelligence information about Iran's nuclear- warhead designs 
in 2004. Likewise, Western intelligence agencies obtained similar information from IRGC 



76 Jones, "Iran Insights - Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 7. 

77 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 12. 

78 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 8, 9. 



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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

officers who defected, such as General AH Reza Asgari. Although there were many others as 
well, Asgari's defection was significant because he was deeply engaged in establishing Iranian 
links with Hezbollah. Asgari seems to have provided intelligence to the Israelis and may have 
been the source of the intelligence they used in Operation Orchard to strike Syria's nuclear 
reactor. Moreover, Western intelligence agencies managed to infiltrate Iran's intelligence 
networks with the help of the Kurds. Using the acquired intelligence, the United States managed 
to successfully damage Iran's uranium-enrichment program by intentionally providing defective 
tools, machines, and blueprints in 2000 and 2003. 79 

Following these developments, Tehran established a new intelligence force called "Oghab 
2" (Eagle 2) in 2005. It most likely operates under MOIS's Counterintelligence Directorate. This 
force is a counterintelligence bureau exclusively responsible for protecting all relevant 
information about Iran's nuclear program, nuclear facilities, and the scientists working in nuclear 
facilities against threats, including threats from domestic opposition groups and foreign 
intelligence agencies. The creation of Oghab 2 goes back to the exposure of two secret nuclear 
facilities, Parshin and Lavizan, and the arrest of two spies who collected information about the 
nuclear facilities, in 2005. In a larger sense, however, the main reason for the establishment of 
this force was to counter covert activities of all kinds by foreign intelligence agents against the 
Islamic Republic. 80 

Following the discovery of various alleged spying networks in mid- April 2007, the 
commander of Oghab 2, General Gholam Reza Moghrabi, was replaced by Ahmad Vahidi, who 
was a former IRGC Quds Force commander and is the current minister of defense. Under his 
leadership and that of his deputies, General Akbar Dianatfar and General Ali Naghdi, Oghab 2 
was enlarged by recruiting up to 10,000 agents. However, it is worth adding that Oghab 2 is still 
incapable of preventing major sabotage and assassinations. For instance, since 2007 several 
Iranian nuclear scientists have allegedly been assassinated by Israel's Mossad. 81 



79 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 10. 

80 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 11. 

81 "Espionage in Iran" [<j'j^ j J ir"-*"^], Edalat [Tehran], September 19, 201 1, http://hoghoghszt.blogfa.com/post- 
2.aspx (accessed April 11, 2012); Mirjavedanfar, "Iran, Loser of the Intelligence War" [^LtilLI ±j±i o^jL ijIjjI], 
Rooz Online, January 13, 2010, http://www.roozonline.com/persian/archive/overallarchive/news/archive/2010/ 
january/13/article/-bc64c2c377.html (accessed May 21, 2012); Ed Blanche, "Iran-Israel Covert War: The Mossad Is 
Said to Wage a Clandestine Campaign of Assassination and Sabotage Against Iran's Nuclear Programme, But This 
Could Backfire on President Obama's Efforts to Negotiate with Tehran," The Middle East, July 1, 2009, 
http://findarticles.eom/p/articles/mi_m2742/is_402/ai_n32150834/pg_2/ (accessed April 11, 2012); Jones, "Iran 
Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 11. 

34 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

Nonetheless, MOIS has accomplished several remarkably successful operations. In 2007 
the Iranian intelligence service became suspicious about possible espionage and seized 15 British 
sailors in the Persian Gulf. The seizure took place after a British television program on the 
nature of the Royal Navy's activities, which to some extent aimed at collecting intelligence on 
Iran, attracted Iranian attention. In 201 1 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Iranians 
dismantled a 30-member network of individuals allegedly recruited by U.S. embassies in the 
United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Malaysia to conduct espionage and sabotage against Iran. 

Iranian intelligence has also infiltrated foreign-based opposition groups. For instance, 
MEK's espionage activities against the Iranian government and its nuclear program declined in 
2007 because of Iran's counterintelligence operations. MEK had revealed the existence of two 
nuclear facilities in Iran (Natanz and Arak) in 2002, and MEK has reportedly provided the 
United States with other intelligence on Iran's nuclear program. In 2007 Le Figaro, a French 
newspaper, stated: "Intelligence specialists are unanimous on one point: it is very difficult to 
infiltrate Iran. Foreign services traditionally have very few high level contacts in Iran." 8 "' 

Further, on May 21, 201 1, Iran broke up a spy network allegedly linked to the CIA, 
arresting 30 people in an operation inside Iran. This network was intended to obtain military and 
nuclear intelligence. MOIS announced that it was able to prove the connection of all operatives 
with the CIA. Likewise, MOIS announced in May 201 1 that it had identified 42 more spies in 
various countries linked to the CIA. MOIS agents had reportedly monitored and videotaped 
meetings with those arrested spies over the course of a year. In a program broadcast by national 
TV, the minister of intelligence and security said: "It is inevitable that intelligence agencies get 
infiltrated. One of the good things we did was that we can identify the infiltrators and make use 
of them in the future. The enemy may eradicate them, but there are definitely other infiltrators 
whom we can use as well." 84 Later, MOIS announced that the network was operating under 
various guises, including job-finding centers. According to Iran, the CIA has created fake Web 



82 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 11. 

83 Nile Bowie, "CYBER TERRORISM: US-Supported Terrorist Group MEK Plants Stuxnet Virus Malware to 
Disable Iran's Nuclear Facilities," Global Research [Montreal], April 16, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/ 
index.php?aid=30353&context=va (accessed June 15, 2012); Georges Malbrunot, "Comment les Etats-Unis 
espionnent lTran" [How the U.S. Spies on Iran], Le Figaro [Paris], December 5, 2007, http://www.lefigaro.fr/ 
international/2007/12/06/0 1003 -2007 1206ARTFIG00006-comment-les-etats-unis-espionnent-liran.php (accessed 
June 15, 2012). 

84 "30 US spies arrested in Iran," YouTube, June 22, 201 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOCHnRyUUgQ (accessed 
April 11, 2012). 

35 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

sites to offer jobs to Iranians and then has attempted to recruit them to collect intelligence on 
military and nuclear-energy industries. 5 

On November 24, 201 1, MOIS arrested 12 other alleged CIA spies who were collecting 
information about Iran's nuclear plans. Iran has further claimed that Hezbollah has discovered a 
CIA espionage network and that the lives of those CIA agents are in danger. 

On April 10, 2012, MOIS announced the discovery of an Israeli network in central Iran 
that was allegedly trying to collect information about Iran's nuclear activities. Commenting on 
this issue, the Iranian government noted that MOIS has been capable of breaking up CIA and 
Mossad spy networks in the so-called "intelligence war." Consequently, MOIS has been working 
especially hard to identify and discover foreign intelligence networks. 87 

On June 15, 2012, MOIS announced that its agents had succeeded in identifying and 
arresting the assassins of two Iranian scientists. MOIS claimed that Israel plotted the 
assassinations and that it would find every "Zionist" operative that was involved in these 
assassinations. 

Iran has become more sensitive about U.S or foreign espionage, ostensibly because of its 
nuclear program. Acting on these sensibilities, Iran intercepted two unmanned U.S. spy planes 
operating outside Iranian airspace in January 201 1. Furthermore, Iranians claim that they 
penetrated Mossad while they were looking for the assassins of Iran's nuclear scientists. These 
allegations may be unfounded. 89 

16. MOTIVATION AND PERFORMANCE 

MOIS is devoted to extending the Iranian revolutionary idea throughout the world. This 
revolutionary enthusiasm, however, is tempered by pragmatism. At the time of its establishment, 



85 "30 US spies arrested in Iran." 



86 "Iran Arrests 12 'CIA Spies' for Targeting Nuclear Plans," BBC, November 24, 201 1, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ 

world-middle-east-15879086 (accessed April 5, 2012). 

s7 "The Minister of Intelligence Announced: The Arrest of A Zionist Terrorist Network" [ :^Ij jt*- <-ilc.5iy <-ijljj 

J^ji^= fijj t^^jjjj ^-^ <-£j lsL^^I lSjA^], Iranian Student's News Agency [ISNA; Tehran], April 10, 2012, 

http://isna.ir/fa/news/91012206786/, ^-^yjl^Lyjj^^b-j^-^ilLL^jljj (accessed April 11, 2012). The 

Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) is a news organization run by Iranian university students. It is considered to 

be one of the most independent and moderate media organizations in Iran. 

N ' "The Ministry of Intelligence: The Assassins of the Nuclear Scientists Are Arrested" [ J^ljc- :<-iU5Ual iiijl jj Ajc!sUal 

jii,S jSjLj,^ !j\ <cl*a (jlALuiib jjj3 ; Iranian Students' News Agency [ISNA; Tehran], June 15, 2012, http://isna.ir/fa/ 

news/91032514645/%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%87-%D9%88%D8%B2% 



86%D8%B4%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86 (accessed June 15, 2012). 



36 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

as well as prior to the formation of MOIS, the task of Iranian intelligence was to look for 
antirevolutionary groups and individuals inside and outside of the country in order to protect the 
Islamic Revolution. In the early years of the Revolution, many people who formerly supported 
the regime turned against it. It was the duty of SAVAMA (the intelligence service of Iran at the 
time) to identify those defectors. However, after the establishment of MOIS and the ascent of 
Ayatollah AH Khamenei as the Supreme Leader, the ministry became more involved in 
implementing the Supreme Leader's policies, both internally and externally. The goal of Iranian 
foreign policy is to expand Iran's influence in the Middle East and throughout the world. In 
pursuit of this goal, Iranian leaders, conscious that Iranians are part of the Shi'a minority in the 
Muslim world, focus on anti-imperialism and on combating American hegemony as ways to 
influence not only Muslims, but also other people of different faiths. These principles motivate 
the Islamic Republic to operate outside of Iran through MOIS and even more so through its sister 
agency, the IRGC Quds Force. 

MOIS's performance has been steady and unswerving since its establishment after the 
Revolution. MOIS is focused on internal affairs and concentrates on protecting the current 
Islamic system. This goal has been implemented through covert operations inside and outside of 
the country. 91 

17. PRINCIPAL AREAS OF OPERATION 

MOIS is active wherever the Iranian government has interests. MOIS operates in Iran and 
cooperates with the Quds Force in the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Lebanon), 
Central Asia, Africa, Europe (Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Turkey, 
the United Kingdom), and the Americas, including the United States. MOIS provides financial, 
material, technological, or other support services to Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda in Iraq 
(AQI), all designated terrorist organizations under U.S. Executive Order 13224. 92 



89 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 11. 

90 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 12. 

91 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 12. 

92 "Treasury Accuses Iran of Hacking," Emptywheel, February 16, 2012, http://www.emptywheel.net/tag/quds-force/ 
(accessed April 5, 2012); Ladan Firoozbakht, "The Capital City of Austria, A Nest for Tehran's Regime," Radio 
France International [France], February 21, 2010, http://www.persian.rfi.fr/%D9%BE%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8% 
AA%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%B4-%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86%D9% 
87-%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%Bl%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%Bl%DA%98%DB%8C%D9%85- 
%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-20100221/%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%88%D9%85%DB%8C 
(accessed September 6, 2012). MOIS has facilitated the movement of al-Qaeda operatives in Iran and has provided 

37 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

Latin America is an area of major interest for the Iranians. The existence of Iranian 
intelligence activities in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela, 
where Iran has political and economic interests, is also part of Iran's strategy of establishing a 
presence in the backyard of the United States for purposes of expanding Shi'a and revolutionary 
ideology, establishing networks for intelligence and covert operations, and waging asymmetrical 
warfare against the United States. In Latin America, Iran's intelligence agencies — MOIS but 
mostly the Quds Force — use Hezbollah to achieve their goals. 93 

In the Middle East, Iran uses Hezbollah to pressure Israel and to threaten the United States 
in Iraq and Afghanistan by backing insurgent groups. The current uprising in Syria has 
significant implications for Iran's intelligence. Iranians are present in the form of the Quds Force 
in Syria to support President Bashar al- Assad's suppression of opposition protests. Iran's success 
in suppressing its own opposition after the disputed 2009 presidential election offers a useful 
model to the Syrian government. Iran specifically targets Bahrain and other countries with a 
majority Shi'a population, using MOIS to carry out operations in line with Iran's foreign 
policy. 94 

In Europe, MOIS maintains a significant network in Germany. In January 201 1, Hans-Peter 
Friedrich, Germany's interior minister, and Heinz Fromm, head of the Federal Office for the 
Protection of the Constitution (the German equivalent of the FBI), reported that the main 
responsibility of MOIS is "monitoring the opposition groups in and out of Iran and fighting 
against them." According to their report, MOIS also has been collecting information on politics, 
economy, and science in Germany, and it adds, "Most intelligence activities against Germany are 
carried out by this ministry [MOIS]." The report also notes: "The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence 



them with documents, identification cards, and passports. MOIS has also negotiated prisoner releases of AQI 
operatives. 

93 "Iran Increases Its Political and Economic Presence in Latin America. . .," Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism 
Information Center, Israeli Intelligence and Heritage Commemoration Center, April 19, 2009, http://www. terrorism- 
info. org. il/en/article/1 8291 (accessed March 7, 2012). This Israeli Web site provides reports on terrorist actions of 
anti-Israeli groups such as Hezbollah, the Quds Force, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. The reports are detailed and 
informative. Readers interested in Iran's activities in Latin America may wish to consult a parallel study by the 
Federal Research Division for the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office entitled "The Quds Force of 
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps: A Profile" (2012), available on the Open Source Center's Web site. 

94 "Evidence Grows Iran Aiding Syria's Assad," UPI, June 2, 201 1, http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/201 1/ 
06/02/Evidence-grows-Iran-aiding-Syrias-Assad/UPI-72061307024479/ (accessed March 13, 2012). 

38 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

is seeking to attract German citizens to cooperate with the ministry. This applies to citizens who 
often travel to Iran for visiting their families or for business." 95 

Vienna, the capital city of Austria is allegedly full of MOIS agents. It is because of the 
continuous good relationship between Iran and Austria since the Revolution — after the U.S. 
hostage crisis, which resulted in condemnation of the Islamic Republic by many countries and 
secluded Iran in many ways, Austria was one of the few countries that was not concerned. It 
appears that Iran takes advantage of this relationship by deploying its intelligence officers in 
Austria. It has been reported that MOIS agents identify anti-Islamic Republic political activists 
and threaten to silence them. 96 

The historical backgrounds of Georgia and Azerbaijan, both previously part of Iran, make 
these two countries likely targets of the Iranian intelligence services. In Azerbaijan, 95 percent of 
the population is Muslim, and 85 percent of Muslims are Shi' a. This makes Azerbaijan one of 
the few countries with a majority Shi 'a population. In addition, cultural similarities between 
Iranians and Azeris, along with a shared language between Iranian-Azeris and Azerbaijanis, 
bring the people of both countries closer and enable the Iranian government to exercise influence 
over Azerbaijan. However, a secret relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel has developed 
during the past decade. In effect, Azerbaijan has become a strategic ally of Israel because it has 
allegedly given Israel access to its air bases near Iran's border. Such an allegation carries serious 
implications because one of the main constraints on Israel's capability to strike Iran has been the 
issue of distance. This development also provides Israel with a possible platform for covert 
activities in Iran and induces Iran to engage in covert activities in Azerbaijan. 97 

The exposure of 1 1 alleged Iranian spies in Turkey in late August 2012 indicates the 
presence of MOIS in this country. A police investigation turned up documents and records of 
phone conversations that the operatives had had with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants. 
Turkey's diplomatic relations with Iran have been strained for some time due in part to differing 



5 "Germany's Security Report on Iran's Intelligence Activities in Germany" [ (jjltiUal ^U duiUijI jLJl ^^\ J*JJ& 
_Ui jj ,j-5U iSjM**.], Deutsche Welle [Germany], January 7, 2011, http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0„ 15204059,00. 
html (accessed May 30, 2012). 
96 Firoozbakht, "The Capital City of Austria, a Nst for Tehran's Regime." 

17 "Religion," Azerbaijan Presidential Library, August 20, 1992, 2, http://files.preslib.az/projects/remz/pdf_en/atr_ 
din.pdf (accessed September 5, 2012); "Azerbaijani-Israeli Relations and the Iranian Threat," Daily Motion, March 
30, 2012, http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xps339_azerbaijani-israeli-relations-and-the-iranian-threat_news 
(accessed September 10, 2012). 

39 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



stances on the current Syrian crisis. The covert activities of the Iranian agents could be the cause 



of increased PKK military action against the Turkish government 



98 



18. FINANCES AND FUND-RAISING 

MOIS is a governmental organization. Therefore, its budget is provided by the Islamic 
Republic of Iran's government and is highly secretive. No public or reliable information is 
available about funding for MOIS. 

19. FOREIGN AFFILIATIONS AND SUPPORT 

It is believed that MOIS cooperates with other intelligence agencies. One of these agencies 
is the Russian SVR, the KGB's replacement. Despite the two agencies' dissimilar doctrines and 
the complicated relationship between Iran and Russia in the past, they managed to cooperate in 
the 1990s, based not only on their intention of limiting U.S. political clout in Central Asia but 
also on their mutual efforts to stifle prospective ethnic turbulence. The SVR trained not only 
hundreds of Iranian agents but also numerous Russian agents inside Iran to equip Iranian 
intelligence with signals equipment in their headquarters compound. It is unclear whether this 
relationship is ongoing and whether the two intelligence agencies continue to cooperate. 

Besides the above-mentioned links, Iran has been cooperating with al-Qaeda as well, 
although the ideological differences between Iran and al-Qaeda limit their cooperation and make 
it potentially unstable. Cooperation between Iran and al-Qaeda is based on their shared 
opposition to U.S. hegemony in the region — Iraq and Afghanistan, chiefly — and dates to the 
1990s. This relationship continued after 9/11, on the basis of which Iran allowed a number of al- 
Qaeda members to cross the border from Afghanistan into Iran. The fact that al-Qaeda operates 
in many countries helps Iran achieve its goal of diverting U.S. attention away from Iran's 
immediate neighborhood. In return, al-Qaeda uses Iran as a place where its facilitators connect 
al-Qaeda' s senior leadership with regional affiliates. In 1995 and again in 1996, Osama Bin 



98 "Iranian Spy Ring Exposed in Turkey, Dealing Blow to Ties Between Neighbors," Today 's Zaman [Turkey], 
August 29, 2012, http://www.todayszaman.com/news-290814-iranian-spy-ring-exposed-in-turkey-dealing-blow-to- 
ties-between-neighbors.html (accessed September 10, 2012); "Escalation of the Conflicts Between PKK and Turkish 
Military in South-Eastern Turkey," [^j 2 ^J^ ^j^ j J ch^*> k ^ ^ y Ch* lSj£j^ ±^] , Euro News (Persian), 
August 14, 2012, http://persian.euronews.com/2012/08/14/upsurge-in-pkk-violence-as-anniversary-nears/ (accessed 
September 10, 2012). 

99 Wege, "Iranian Intelligence Organizations," 288; "Brief on Iran," Iran-e-Azad, September 12, 1995, 
http://www.iran-e-azad.org/english/boi/02500912.95 (accessed April 11, 2012). This Web site is affiliated with the 



40 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 




Seifal-Adl 

Source: 

http://www.nctc.gov/ 



Laden approached MOIS and asked it to join forces against the United 
States. Bin Laden's phone records, obtained by U.S. investigators 
working on the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, show 
that 10 percent of phone calls made by Bin Laden and his lieutenants 
were to Iran. Seifal-Adl, one of al-Qaeda's top-ranking leaders at the 
time, was the liaison between Iranians and al-Qaeda; he coordinated 
meetings with the IRGC's leaders and MOIS officials. 10 Since Bin 
Laden's death in May 201 1, al-Qaeda's new leadership has refrained 
from clarifying its position on cooperation with the Iranian 
government. 



20. USE OF COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA 

The Iranian government uses the media for domestic consumption and for dissemination of 
its propaganda. Given that MOIS operates covertly, it does not share information or discuss its 
missions with the public unless the regime seeks to publicize its efforts through the media to gain 
the public's support. 

One way the Iranian government does this is through its Web site Iran Didban (Iran Watch) 
(www.irandidban.com). This Web site provides news in three languages — English, Farsi, and 
French. Another Web site allegedly affiliated with MOIS is Habilian Foundation 
(www.habilian.ir). This Web site presents its pro-Iranian government news in three languages, 



Arabic, English, and Farsi 



101 



MEK group. "Evidence of Intelligence Collaboration between KGB and Iranian Regime," YouTube, September 24, 
2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS3XbJ-rxlo (accessed May 29, 2012). 

100 Jones, "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus," 12; Matthew Levitt, "New Arenas for Iranian- 
Sponsored Terrorism: The Arab-Israeli Heartland," The Washington Institute, February 22, 2002, http://www. 
washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-arenas-for-iranian-sponsored-terrorism-the-arab-israeli-heartland 
(accessed June 13, 2012); "The Al-Qa'ida-Qods Force Nexus," Kronos Advisory, April 29, 201 1, 1 1 and 18, 
http://thomaspmbarnett.squarespace.com/storage/Kronos_AQ.QF.Nexus.globlogization.pdf (accessed June 13, 
2012). 

101 "Hadi Ameri, the Leader of the Badr Brigade, Announced that the Mojahedin Must Get out of Iraq" [ lsj»\*- ^ jU 
iyi ^iji.1 jijc <_£U. ji aAj jj^u- ijjS leji jjj9 »u ojjSj^], People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, November 21, 2007, 
http://www. mojahedin.org/pages/detailsNews. aspx?newsid=223 1 (accessed September 10, 2012). 



41 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 




Iran Didban, the Web site of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security 
Source: http://www.irandidban.com/ 


icy^^E 


mv 


►^JV J*^ J5-H H^^*" 


oj1aijL> 



Habilian Foundation, a Web site allegedly affiliated with the 

Ministry of Intelligence and Security. 

Source: http://www.habilian.ir/fa/ 



MOIS cooperates with the Islamic Republic of Iran 
Broadcasting (IRIB) organization for its disinformation 
campaigns and for dissemination of its propaganda. The IRIB is a 
state-controlled television and radio organization whose head is 
appointed by the Supreme Leader of Iran. MOIS, through IRIB, 
produces and broadcasts documentary films of successful 
operations that MOIS then broadcasts on national television. For 
instance, after the capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, MOIS's coverage 
of the operation was unprecedented. The minister of intelligence 
and security appeared on national television to explain the effort 
undertaken by the ministry. He tied Rigi to the CIA by showing a 
picture of Rigi, allegedly at an American base in Afghanistan. 

An example of the use of the media by MOIS in a 
psychological operation for domestic consumption is a 201 1 
documentary film called "A Diamond for Deception." 103 This 




Photo taken by MOIS of 
Rigi, allegedly at a U.S. 
military installation 
before capture. 
Source: http://www. 
uskowioniran.com 



documentary is about an IRGC officer, Mohammad-Reza Madhi, who infiltrated the opposition 
outside Iran on behalf of MOIS and offered help to overthrow the government of Iran by using 



"The Jundullah Leader Abdolmalek Rigui [Rigi] Arrested by Iranian Authorities," YouTube, February 23, 2010, 
http://www.youmbe.com/watch?v=ThPMpM96mgQ&feature=related (accessed June 11, 2012). 
103 To see the full version of A Diamond for Deception, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zsURpx0p- 
I&feature=related . 



42 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division 



Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 




Mohammad-Reza Madhi 

Source: http://www.rajanews.com/ 



former IRGC officers in Iran who had defected. As 
shown in the documentary, Madhi went back to 
Iran, and MOIS later publicly revealed the plan as a 
successful effect to infiltrate Iran's enemies. 

The government took enormous advantage of 
this documentary to show how the United States 
and Israel conspired with Iranian dissidents abroad 
to oppose the Revolution. The documentary 
indicated that the MOIS agent met with U.S. Vice 
President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary 
Clinton, as well as with Denis Ross, a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia 
(including Iran). Iranian media claimed that the infiltration by MOIS proves Iran's intelligence 
superiority and demonstrates the failed attempts made by Western intelligence services to rally 
the Iranian opposition against the Islamic Republic. Broadcast on the eve of the second 
anniversary of Iran's 2009 presidential election, the "exposure" was used to portray the reformist 
opposition as being in league with the U.S. administration and Western intelligence services. 

Iran also arrested an alleged U.S. spy in December 201 1. National television broadcast the 
confession of the U.S. agent, a Marine of Iranian ancestry. MOIS asserted that "this CIA agent 
with Iranian nationality began his mission after receiving training in weapons use." MOIS claims 
that the agent was supposed to start his mission from Bagram, an American military base in 
Afghanistan, but that Iranian intelligence agents tricked him into entering Iran and later arrested 
him. An Iranian court convicted him of spying and sentenced him to death. He is currently 



imprisoned in Iran 



105 



104 "Iran's Ministry of Intelligence: U.S. -Led Exile Government Plot Foiled," Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism 
Information Center, Israeli Intelligence and Heritage Commemoration Center, June 16, 2011, http://www.terrorism- 
info.org.il/en/article/17889 (accessed May 29, 2012). This Israeli Web site provides reports in regards to terrorist 
actions of anti -Israeli groups such as Hezbollah, the Quds Force, Hamas, etc. 

105 Hashem Kalantari and Robin Pomeroy, "Iran Says Arrests Another CIA Spy," Reuters, December 17, 201 1, 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/17/us-iran-usa-spy-idUSTRE7BG0CL20111217 (accessed April 11,2012); 
"America's Special Effort for the Release of a Captured Spy'J^'^J l^j^ lS^J ls'jj ^l>*' »Jwj lS^ <_£^] Ghatreh 
[Tehran], August 31, 2012, http://www.ghatreh.com/news/nnl0885851/%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B4- 
%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%88%DB%8C%DA%98%D9%87- 

%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C- 
%D8%A2%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B3- 
%D8%B2%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C (accessed September 6, 2012); "Amir Mirzaei Hekmati 
Is Sentenced to Death" [-^ ?_£^* ? IjcI <j J^*- ^jI jjt* j^>l], Ghatreh [Tehran], January 10, 2012, http://www.ghatreh. 



43 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

In yet another instance of efforts in the media, on August 5, 2012, IRIB broadcasted a 
program provided by MOIS on national television about the alleged Israeli operatives who had 
assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists. The program attempted to demonstrate the savagery of the 
operatives who were executing Moussad's plots. However, the identities of the operatives who 
confessed on national television is still questionable. By resorting to such a presentation, MOIS 
tries to deceive public opinion and to make the Islamic Republic look innocent in the eyes of the 
Iranian people and the world. 106 

The Iranian government's intention in using the media, as noted in the cases above, is most 
likely to gain public support, to create a sense of national unity among Iranians, and to rally them 
against the Western countries that are concerned about Iran's nuclear program and acts of 
terrorism. 

It appears that MOIS does not have an official Web site. MOIS publicizes itself mostly on 
national television and on the radio or through press releases and news Web sites. 

21. TERRORIST THREAT ASSESSMENT 

Iranians engage in two types of terrorist attacks. One type includes sabotage, espionage, and 
bombing of target locations, while the other involves the assassination of dissidents of the 
Islamic Republic of Iran. Both are perpetrated inside and outside of Iran. 

Since the creation of the Quds Force in 1990, MOIS has mostly concentrated on monitoring 
and assassinating Iranian dissidents inside and outside of the country. The "Chain Murders" in 
Iran and the assassination of Iranian dissidents in the Mykonos incident in 1992, along with other 
assassinations, support this view. The Quds Force is in charge of covert military and paramilitary 
actions outside of Iran's territory, including the assassination of foreign individuals, such as 
Israeli officials, as well as training of militant groups and gathering of information in regions of 
interest to Iran. 



com/news/nn9037978/%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%Bl-%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%Bl%D8%B2%D8% 
A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%AD%DA%A9%D9%85%D8%AA%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AF% 
D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%85%D8%AD%DA%A9%D9%88%D9%85 (accessed September 6, 2012). To see the full 
version of the confession on Iranian national television, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=810iSj2QTt8& 
feature=related. 

106 Iraj Mesdaghi, "Pay Attention to the Innocent Suspects of the 'Nuclear Experts' Assassination" [ uWi« jIjj» "4 
ai^jj «,_skL,* tjl. ,-1 1 ,-,-^1 )) jjjj oli&jj], Gooya News, August 21, 2012, http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/ 
2012/08/145756.php (accessed September 12, 2012). 



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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

The responsibilities of MOIS and the Quds Force clearly overlap. Therefore, it is necessary 
for the two organizations to collaborate closely. For instance, the Quds Force is responsible for 
collecting intelligence in foreign countries. It is assumed that the Quds Force reports its 
intelligence-gathering activities and their results to MOIS. 

It appears that the number of assassinations of dissidents has been reduced after exposure of 
the "Chain Murders" for which MOIS publicly took responsibility. Furthermore, the authorities 
strictly control disclosure of sensitive information about MOIS operations because any 
information about them might compromise the entire leadership of the Islamic Republic. Even 
so, MOIS can be expected to continue to target dissidents for assassination if it decides they 
constitute a real threat to the Islamic Republic. 

22. INFORMATION GAPS (IN SOURCES) 

Because MOIS does not have an official Web site, collecting data about its organizational 
structure, its personnel and their duties, and how it operates is difficult. There is no information 
about some of the current high officials and directors of the various MOIS directorates in open- 
source materials, and it is not clear who issues directions to MOIS or how those directions are 
carried out. 

Another important question about MOIS that is not well answered in open-source material is 
the ministry's relationship with the IRGC and how they interact. Observers speculate that MOIS 
and the IRGC have disagreements. If this allegation is true, available information does not 
clearly indicate the source or the degree of the disagreement. 

23. KEY HISTORICAL EVENTS AND SETBACKS 

— July 1980: The discovery of a coup (Nojeh Coup) in 1980 by SAVAMA, the predecessor 
of MOIS, is considered one of the main operations of Iranian intelligence after the Revolution. 
Even though the intelligence structure of Iran was young at the time, agents had discovered that a 
number of air force officers where plotting to overthrow the Islamic government. SAVAMA, the 
intelligence service of Iran at that time, identified the officers involved and arrested them. 107 

— September 1994: A bombing at the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (Asociacion 
Mutual Israelita-Argentina — AMIA) community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killed 85 



107 Amin Asadi, "The Nojeh Coup" [<u> i^j*], Day News [Tehran], March 25, 2012, http://daynews.ir/news/24991 
(accessed April 11, 2012); "Untold [Incidents] About the Ministry of Intelligence," [^ItiUal ^Jjj J' i^M ■&&>]. 

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and wounded 300. The attack was the deadliest 
terrorist attack in Argentine history. 
Responsibility for the attack was attributed to 
Iran. At the time, the Quds Force did not exist as 
an organized group. However, the involvement 
of the IRGC in this incident is undeniable, as the 
Argentine investigation showed. MOIS most 
likely was part of the operation. 1 




AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires 
Source: http://www.jpost.com 




Mykonos Incident in Berlin 

Source: http://www.radiozamaneh.com 



— March 1996: After the investigation of the 
Mykonos incident in Berlin in September 1992, 
the German federal prosecutor issued an arrest 
y^ ^_ warrant for Ali Fallahian, the Iranian minister of 

| intelligence and security, because of his order to 
I I assassinate Iranian Kurdish dissidents. Later, in 

November 1996, Supreme Leader Ayatollah 
Khamenei, President Ali-Akbar Hashemi 
Rafsanjani, Fallahian, and Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's foreign minister, were also charged. In 
April 1997, the German court issued its verdict and condemned the Iranian officials. 1 

— 1997-1998: A series of murders of Iranian intellectuals who were opposed to or critical of 
the Islamic Republic shocked the Iranian public. The assassination of Dariush Forouhar, leader 
of Hezb-e-Mellat-e-Iran (Nation of Iran Party), and his wife along with two authors received 
significant attention and led the Iranian Association of Writers to ask the government to find and 
prosecute the perpetrators of the crime. After an investigation, then Deputy Minister of 
Intelligence and Security Saeed Emami was arrested and imprisoned along with a number of 
MOIS agents on charges of involvement in the assassinations. He reportedly committed suicide 
in prison. The ministry was forced to issue a statement admitting its own agents' involvement in 



"Investigation Finds Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian Involvement in 1994 Bombing of Argentine Jewish 
Community Center," The Anti-Defamation League, October 2003, http://www.adl.org/Terror/terror_buenos_aries_ 
attack.asp (accessed June 11, 2012). 
109 "Masters of Disinformation." 



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these cases — the first time that the Iranian security apparatus took responsibility for its 
actions. ! 

The ministry's statement ran partly as follows: "The despicable and abhorrent recent 
murders in Tehran are sign[s] of a chronic conspiracy and a threat to the national security. . . . 
Unfortunately, a small number of irresponsible, misguided, headstrong, and obstinate staff within 
the Ministry of Intelligence [and Security], who are no doubt under the influence of rogue 
undercover agents and acting towards the objectives of foreign and estranged sources, committed 
these criminal acts." 111 

■ — February 2010: One of the most successful operations 

®by MOIS, which received widespread coverage inside and 
outside of Iran, was the capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader 
of the Baluchi Jundollah, an Islamist Sunni militant 
organization, in February 2010. For years Rigi had masterfully 
eluded capture, staying for the most part in the lawless regions 
of western Pakistan. His brutal murders of local people in 
southeast Iran made him the Iranian government's most- 
wanted person. After killing one of the preeminent commanders 
of the IRGC, the Islamic Republic seriously undertook to 
capture him. MOIS tracked him and kept him under 
surveillance, and when he was on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, flying over Iranian soil, 
MOIS agents forced the plane to land inside Iran and arrested Rigi. He confessed in a program 
broadcast on national television that he was cooperating with the CIA and Mossad and was 



Abdolmalek Rigi 

Source: 

http://tribune.com.pk/ 



subsequently executed 



112 



110 Sahimi, "The Chain Murders: Killing Dissidents and Intellectuals 1988-1998," 2011. 

111 Sahimi, "The Chain Murders: Killing Dissidents and Intellectuals 1988-1998," 201 1; Sahimi, "The Chain 
Murders," 2009. 

1 12 "Abdulmalek Rigi Is Killed in a Daring Intelligence Operation" [ jj&»»»a ^LcilLI -ulj^^ cJJLc lJL; jj ^jj i_5LU.iie. 
■*-], Raja News [Tehran], February 23, 2010, http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=45150 (accessed April 11, 
2012); "Iran Arrests Jundallah Ringleader, Rigi," Press TV [Tehran], February 23, 2010, http://edition.presstv.ir/ 
detail/1 19269.html (accessed April 11, 2012). 



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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



24. CHRONOLOGY OF SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST ATTACKS 

MOIS has been involved in a considerable number of assassinations. Only the most 
significant ones are included in the following tables. It appears that the number of assassinations 



declined in the 2000s 



113 



Table 2. Assassinations Outside Iran 



Date 


Name of Target 


Location 


Target's Background 


December 1979 


Shahryar Shafiq 


Paris, France 


He was the shah's nephew. 


July 1980 


Ali Tabatabaei 


Bethesda, MD, U.S. 


He was the press attache in 
Iran's embassy in the United 
States under the shah. 


February 1984 


Gholam-Ali Oveissi 


Paris, France 


He was a hard-line army 
commander and military 
governor of Tehran under the 
shah. He was assassinated with 
his brother Gholam-Hussein. 


January 1987 


Ali Akbar Mohammadi 


Hamburg, Germany 


He was a former pilot for Ali- 
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. 


May 1987 


Hamidreza Chitgar 


Vienna, Austria 


He was first secretary of Hezb 
Kaar (Labor Party). 


July 1989 


Abdulrahman Ghassemlou 


Vienna, Austria 


He was the leader of the 
Kurdish Democratic Party of 
Iran (KDPI). He was 
assassinated with three of his 
aides when he traveled to 
Vienna to meet with Iranian 
government representatives for 
negotiations. 


August 1989 


Gholam Keshavarz 


Cyprus 


He was a communist and an 
opponent of the Islamic 
Republic. 


April 1990 


Kazem Rajavi 


Geneva, Switzerland 


He was the brother of Massoud 
Rajavi, the leader of 
Mojahedin-e Khalgh 
Organization (MEK). 


July 1990 


Ali Kashefpour 


Turkey 


He was a member of the 
Central Committee of the 
Kurdish Democratic Party of 
Iran (KDPI). 



Sahimi, "The Chain Murders," 2009. 



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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Date 


Name of Target 


Location 


Target's Background 


September 1990 


Effat Qazi 


Sweden 


She was a daughter of Gazi 
Mohammed, the Kurdish 
leader and president of the 
Mahabad Republic (a short- 
lived Kurdish movement that 
sought Kurdish independence 
within the bounds of the 
Iranian state). 


October 1990 


Cyrus Elahi 


Paris, France 


He was a member of the 
opposition monarchist group 
Derafsh-e Kaviani (Flag of 
Freedom). 


April 1991 


Abdolrahman Boroumand 


Paris, France 


He was a member of the 
Executive Committee of the 
National Resistance Movement 
of Iran that Dr. Shapour 
Bakhtiar had founded in 
France. 


August 1991 


Shapour Bakhtiar 


Paris, France 


He was the last prime minister 
under the shah. 


September 1991 


Saeed Yazdanpanah 


Iraq 


He was a member of the 
Revolutionary Union of 
Kurdish People. He was 
stabbed to death along with his 
secretary, Cyrus Katibeh. 


August 1992 


Fereydoun Farrokhzad, 


Bonn, Germany 


He was a popular Iranian 
singer and showman who 
openly criticized the Islamic 
Republic. 


September 1992 


Sadeq Sharafkandi 


Berlin, Germany 


He was the leader of the KDPI, 
murdered along with three 
Kurdish aides, Homayoun 
Ardalan, Fattah Abdollahi, and 
Nouri Dehkordi (the Mykonos 
Incident). 


March 1993 


Heybatollah Narou'i 


Karachi, Pakistan 


He and Delaviz Narou'i were 
two chiefs of the Narou'i tribe 
in Baluchistan Province. 


May 1996 


Reza Mazlouman 


Paris, France 


He was a criminology 
professor at the University of 
Tehran before the 1 979 
Revolution and was deputy 
minister of education under the 
shah. 



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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Many writers, activists, and intellectuals who had been missing were later found dead. 
The table below contains information about some of these victims who are believed to have been 
killed by MOIS. 

Table 3. Assassinations Inside Iran 



Date 


Name of Target 


Target's Background 


November 1988 


Kazem Sami 


He was an Islamic nationalist and physician who had 
founded, before the Revolution, Jonbesh-e Enghelabi 
Mardom Iran (Revolutionary Movement of the Iranian 
People). 


Fall of 1990 


Sayyed Khosro Besharati 


He was a religious intellectual who was critical of 
certain Shi' a beliefs. 


June 1994 


Father Mehdi Dibadj 


He was a Muslim who had converted to Christianity 
before the 1 979 Revolution. 


Early 1994 


Father T. Mikaeilian 


An explosion in July 1 994 in the Shrine of Imam Reza 
(the 8th Shi'a Imam) was blamed on three MEK 
members. They were arrested and confessed on 
national TV that they murdered Father Mikaelian, who 
was the head of the Protestant Church in Iran. Many 
Iranians found those confessions hard to believe. 


August 1994 


Shamseddin Amir-Alaei 


He was a nationalist figure and opposition member. He 
died in a car accident, which is believed to have been 
intentional. 


May 1994 


Zohreh Izadi 


She was a political activist. 


November 1994 


Ali Akbar Saidi Sirjani 


He was a famous poet, writer, and journalist. 


1995 


Abdolaziz Bajd 


He was a professor at Zahedan University (in the 
province of Sistan and Baluchistan), where he delivered 
a speech critical of the TV series "Imam Ali." 


January 1995 


Hossein Barazandeh 


He was an engineer and a close aide of Dr. Ali Shariati, 
the distinguished sociologist and Islamic scholar. 


February 1995 


Molla Farough Farsad 


He was a Sunni cleric in Sanandaj (capital of Kurdistan 
province). First he was exiled to Ardebil, and later his 
body was found showing signs of torture. 


March 1995 


Ahmad Khomeini 


He was the son of Ayatollah Khomeini. After the death 
of his father, Ahmad Khomeini had started criticizing 
the government. It is reported that Mohammad Niazi, 
the military prosecutor who handled Saeed Emami's 
case in 1999, told Hassan Khomeini, Ahmad's son, that 
Emami had killed his father. ' 14 


October 1995 


Ahmad Mir Alaei 


He was a writer, translator, intellectual, and signatory 
of the writers' open letter. 115 


May 1996 


Ghazaleh Alizadeh 


She was a novelist. 



'Emami: Fallahian Gave Me the Order to Eliminate Seyyed Ahmad Khomeini" [ -^ i-iia. jjl^j j> <j ch*-^ :<j*t*l 



jbl 



JiS^i^- 



J], Rah-e-Sabz (Jaras) [U.S.], May 1, 2012, http://www.rahesabz.net/story/52633/ (accessed 



September 4, 2012). Jaras is the news Web site of the Iranian supporters of the Green Movement. 

115 On October 15, 1994, 134 writers published an open letter in the form of an article entitled "We Are the Writers." 

In it they demanded that the government end censorship and called for an autonomous writers' association. 



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Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Date 


Name of Target 


Target's Background 


November 1996 


Molla Mohammad Rabiei 


He was Kermanshah's Friday prayer leader who 
reportedly died of a heart attack. However, it turned out 
a few years later that he was injected with air, which 
caused him to have a heart attack. 116 


November 1996 


Siamak Sanjari 


He was murdered on his wedding night. He had 
claimed that he was well-informed about former 
Minister of Intelligence and Security Ali Fallahian's 
alleged crimes. 


November 1996 


Abdolaziz Kazemi 


He was a Ph.D. student, a lecturer at the University of 
Sistan and Baluchestan, and a Sunni cleric who 
advocated for the rights of ethnic and religious 
minorities. 


March 1997 


Ebrahim Zalzadeh 


He was editor of the monthly literary magazine 
Me'yaar (Criterion). He was arrested by agents of 
MOIS and taken to a "safe house." His family was 
ordered not to reveal his arrest or he would be killed. 
His body was found half-buried outside Tehran. 


August 1998 


Pirouz Davani 


He was a writer and political activist who went 
missing. His body was never found. 


November 1998 


Dariush and Parvaneh 
Forouhar 


Dariush Forouhar was the leader of Mellat (Nation) 
Party, a small party that was part of the National Front, 
the political group of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh. 


November 1998 


Majid Sharif 


He was a writer and translator of books. 


December 1998 


Mohammad Mokhtari 


He was a writer, mythologist, journalist, and member of 
the organizing committee of the Iranian Writers' 
Association. 


December 1998 


Mohammad Jafar 
Pouyandeh 


He was a writer and translator. 



116 Edris Amiri, "Azar 12, Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Allameh Mohammad Rabiei" [ >-^W^ ±J^L» U jil \ X 
aJc M <^.j ^s^jjj .la^ -uiltj^ Sistan & Baluchistan 88[i.e., 1388, Persian calendar] Economic Students [Iranian 
blog], December 3, 2010 http://economic88usb.blogfa.com/post-61.aspx (accessed September 5, 2012). 



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8%9F-%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B 1 -%D9%8 1 %D8%B 1 %D8%B4%D8% 
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%D8%A8%D8%B 1 %D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%B 1 %DA%98%DB%8C%D9%85- 
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2012). 

Flood, Alison. "Salman Rushdie Reveals Details of Fatwa Memoir." Guardian [Manchester], 
April 12, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/12/salman-rushdie-reveals- 
fatwa-memoir (accessed May 19, 2012). 



54 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

"Germany's Security Report on Iran's Intelligence Activities in Germany" [ ch^ er^ 1 J*Jj£ 
jUll jji cr «!>UI lsjjs*?. jl[&yJa\ ij\a CiilUijI]. Deutsche Welle [Germany], January 7, 201 1. 
http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0„15204059,00.html (accessed May 30, 2012). 

"Hadi Ameri, the Leader of the Badr Brigade, Announced that the Mojahedin Must Get out of 
Iraq" [-ijjj-u t^j^ i^j^ ' ^^ J' AjW uj ^ ? * o^S Icil j^j9 ^W^ o-^j^j-^ tsj^- c5^*l. People s 
Mojahedin Organization of Iran, November 21, 2007. http://www.mojahedin.org/pages/ 
detailsNews.aspx?newsid=22313 (accessed September 10, 2012). 

"Hajjarian Speaks About the Formation of the Ministry of Intelligence." Sharif News [Tehran], 
September 6, 2005. http://sharifnews.ir/79448 (accessed March 22, 2012). 

Hen-Tov, Elliot, and Nathan Gonzalez. "The Militarization of Post-Khomeini, Iran: 

Praetorianism 2.0." Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 

201 1. https://csis.org/files/publication/twql lwinterhentovgonzalez.pdf (accessed May 22, 

2012). 

"How Did the Ministry of Intelligence Form?" [*.c*J> jSUi aiJ^. jIjjI cie!lLl ^Jjj\. 
Khanevadeh Kooch [Iranian blog], March 1, 201 1. http://www.koooch.com/ 
threadl703.html (accessed March 22, 2012). 

"How Do Iranian Intelligence Forces Operate Outside of the Country?" [ ^Ae-^Jal tsijij ls^jj? 
?ojS isA J*& AJjl^. jySS. j\ £jLk jj j!jj!]. Khobar Online [Tehran], June 9, 2010. 
http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-67593.aspx (accessed April 4, 2012). 

"How to Be Hired at the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security?" 
[u'j^ cr*^ LSjjfr*?- tiile^Ual ^Jjj > (.iJiiuil ^J^.]. Efshagari [Iranian blog], June 9, 
20 1 0. http://efshagary.wordpress.com/20 1 0/06/09/%DA%86%DA%AF%D9%88% 
D9%86%DA%AF%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%AF% 
D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8% 
AA-%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AC% 
D9%85%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B1/ (accessed April 10, 2012). 

"If Applicable Law Does Not Prohibit Money Laundering, The Government Will Be Charged" 
[cs-* f* 1 * ^j-^ °j"j 'j?- 1 1^_^_^ t" ojj^-^j"]. Khabar Online [Tehran], December 14, 2008. 
http://www.khabaronline.ir/detail/755/ (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"Intelligence and Law" [^Ualj^ J Cj ^]. JameJam Online [Tehran], February 11, 2009. 

http://www.jamejamonline.ir/papertext.aspx?newsnum=100898802936 (accessed April 4, 
2012). 

"Intelligence Organizations Increase Their Control over Foreign Media in Iran" [ ls^a jU jL* 

■ iiAJ cs-* t_w' j*' l>L«' j J c^J^- <-5^* ajLuijjj lj j_ji. Jji& cs lc.iUal]. Gooya News [Belgium], May 
15, 2012. http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2012/05/140573.php (accessed May 
17,2012). 



55 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 

"Introduction to the School of Intelligence Is Online" [ j'Ja ^4^ lsjj jt cAc!lLl «^5LiJb ^ij*-* 
<^j^]. Bargh Arshad (Iranian blog) [Tehran], July 16, 2012. 
http://bargharshad.blogfa.com/post/100 (accessed September 13, 2012). 

"Introduction to the Ministry of Intelligence Public Relations" [ ^Jjj ls^j*^ ^jj W lJ^ 

CjIc!1LI]. Jame Jam Online [Tehran], February 11, 2009. http://www.jamejamonline.ir/ 
papertext.aspx?newsnum=100898806386 (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"Investigation Finds Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian Involvement in 1994 Bombing of Argentine 
Jewish Community Center." The Anti-Defamation League, October 2003. 
http://www.adl.org/Terror/terror_buenos_aries_attack.asp (accessed June 11, 2012). 

"Iran, Argentina Clash over Jewish Center Bombing; Iranian Cleric Is Linked to Buenos Aires 
Bombing. That Killed 87 People in '94." Baltimore Sun, May 21, 1998. http://articles. 
baltimoresun.com/1998-05-21/news/1998141013_l_rabbani-iran-bombing (accessed 
March 22, 2012). 

"Iran Arrests Jundallah Ringleader, Rigi." Press TV [Tehran], February 23, 2010. 
http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/l 19269.html (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"Iran Arrests 12 'CIA Spies' for Targeting Nuclear Plans." BBC. November 24, 201 1. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15879086 (accessed April 5, 2012). 

"Iranian Spy Ring Exposed in Turkey, Dealing Blow to Ties Between Neighbors." Today's 

Zaman [Turkey], August 29, 2012. http://www.todayszaman.com/news-290814-iranian- 
spy-ring-exposed-in-turkey-dealing-blow-to-ties-between-neighbors.html (accessed 
September 10, 2012). 

"Iran Increases Its Political and Economic Presence in Latin America. . . ." Meir Amit 
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Israeli Intelligence and Heritage 
Commemoration Center, April 19, 2009. http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/ 
article/18291 (accessed March 7, 2012). 

"Iran's Line of Tractor Production Is being Launched in Bolivia." Mehr News [Tehran], 

September 14, 2011. http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/NewsDetail. aspx?NewsID= 14078 17 
(accessed March 26, 2012). 

"Iran's Minister of Intelligence: The Intelligence [Forces] Working Parallel [with MOIS] Have 
to Be Stopped" [o ] ji ] <^^y jjj j: *jkj> ^Ic^LLl _• JS ^jl^ <_<;jk. ajL. jj^]. BBC Persian. 
May 29, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2012/05/120529_139_intelligence_ 
paraller-activities.shtml (accessed May 29, 2012). 

"Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security." Iran Focus [UK], May 6, 2005. 

http://www.iranfocus. com/en/? option=com_content&task=view&id=2020 (accessed 
January 31, 2012 ). 

"Iran's Ministry of Intelligence: U.S. -Led Exile Government Plot Foiled." Meir Amit 
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Israeli Intelligence and Heritage 



56 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Commemoration Center, June 16, 2011. http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/17889 
(accessed May 29, 2012). 

"Iran's Secretive Quds Force Has Terror Links." Soldier of Fortune, October 12, 201 1. 
http://www.sofmag.com/iran%E2%80%99s-secretive-quds-force-has-terror-links 
(accessed March 22, 2012)/ 

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security" [ lsjj^^- cl^y^L\ cjjIJj 
^s^U] [Iranian blog], August 22, 2011. http://www.varzeshll.blogfa.com/cat-417.aspx 
(accessed May 21, 2012). 

Jones, Oliver. "Iran Insights — Iran's Intelligence and Security Apparatus." UK Defence Forum, 
December 201 1. http://www.ukdf.org.uk/assets/downloads/RS84CIraninsights- 
Iran%E2%80%99sintelligenceandsecurityapparatusx.pdf (accessed March 22, 2012). 

"The Jundullah Leader Abdolmalek Rigui [Rigi] Arrested by Iranian Authorities." YouTube, 
February 23, 2010 . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThPMpM96mgQ&feature= 
related (accessed June 1 1, 2012). 

Kalantari, Hashem, and Robin Pomeroy. "Iran Says Arrests Another CIA Spy." Reuters, 
December 17, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/17/us-iran-usa-spy- 
idUSTRE7BG0CL201 11217 (accessed April 11, 2012). 

Levitt, Matthew. "New Arenas for Iranian-Sponsored Terrorism: The Arab-Israeli Heartland." 

The Washington Institute, February 22, 2002. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy- 
analysis/view/new-arenas-for-iranian-sponsored-terrorism-the-arab-israeli-heartland 
(accessed June 13, 2012). 

Malbrunot, George. "Comment les Etats-Unis espionnent l'Iran" [How the U.S. Spies on Iran]. 
Le Figaro [Paris], December 5, 2007. http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2007/12/06/ 
01 003 -20071 206 ARTFIG00006-comment-les-etats-unis-espionnent-liran.php (accessed 
June 15, 2012). 

"A Man Called Saeed Emami." Iran Terror Database, January 22, 2006. http://www.iranterror. 
com/content/view/ 1 78/26/ (accessed March 21, 2012). 

"Masters of Disinformation. "Iran Terror Database, November 22, 2005. http://www.iranterror. 
com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=l&id=113 (accessed April 11, 2012). 

Maximus, Cyrus. "The Ministry of Intelligence and Security." Iran Channel, September 16, 
2010. http://iranchannel.org/archives/357 (accessed March 21, 2012). 

"Member of Parliament's Defense for Mohseni Eje'i" [cs 1 O' o, '""'"' J 1 w^ u^y^ t^]- Farda 
News [Tehran], July 27, 2009. http://www.fardanews.com/fa/news/87456/%D8%AF% 
D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%8A%D9%86%D8% 
AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D8%A7% 
D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DA%98%D9% 
87-%D8%A7%DB%8C (accessed November 12, 2012). 



57 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Iran: A Country Study. Washington, DC: GPO for the Federal Research 
Division, Library of Congress, 1989. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/irtoc.html (accessed 
May 1,2012). 

"Milani and Ashkevari Speak About Haghani School." YouTube, November 14, 2011. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oabDKk49BzI (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"The Minister of Intelligence Announced: The Arrest of A Zionist Terrorist Network" [ ^j'jj 
jb jji. iiiUOUal: ^jiuiiijj^^a jxjjj ^jiuujjjj 4&_ui i_SLj ^L^acl ,_£ jjliuiji]. Iranian Students ' News 
Agency [ISNA; Tehran], April 10, 2012. http://isna.ir/fa/news/91012206786/, ^Jjj- 
cjU^I-j^-jb-^j^lu.j-^Licl-cdj- 4li£ (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"The Minister of Intelligence Deputy Became Iran's Ambassador in Syria" [ cAc!lL! jjjj jjl*-« 
ii <j J>ul j^ j|jj| jjLji]. Iran Briefing, June 20, 201 1. http://farsi.iranbriefing.net/?p=12051 
(accessed May 19,2012). 

"The Minister of Intelligence's Report of Successes / Outside Opponents and Internal Dissidents 
of 1388 [2009] Have Become Active Again." Raja News [Tehran], n.d. 
http://www.raj anews. com/detail. asp?id=95793 (accessed April 4, 2012). 

"The Ministry of Intelligence: The Assassins of the Nuclear Scientists Are Arrested" [ <je.5Ual 
jiii jjlio,:) ^i <g^ia (jl-iL/u-iib jjjj (J^ljc ;i*ilfi.5Ual CjjIJj]. Iranian Students' News Agency 
[ISNA; Tehran], June 15, 2012. http://isna.ir/fa/news/91032514645/%D8%A7%D8% 
B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%8A%D9%87%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8 
%B 1 %D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA- 
%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B 
1-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B4%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9 
%86 (accessed June 15, 2012). 

"The Ministry of Intelligence Deputy: The Internet Network Is a Spy" [i^^Ual ^j'Jj uj^: ^4^ 
c^l tjxjJ^. cjjjiiil]. Aftab News [Tehran], April 5, 2012. http://www.aftabnews.ir/ 
vdcbg0b88rhba5p.uiur.html (accessed June 12, 2012). 

"The Ministry of Intelligence Deputy: We Have Identified Two New Viruses" [ ^Jjj uj^ 
cjl&^Ual; pjjjS ^jLuilui jj^a. ,j\ ajIjIj o^jjjj yi\. Aftab News [Tehran], January 19, 2012. 
http://aftabnews.ir/vdcdos0ffyt0os6.2a2y.html (accessed May 18, 2012). 

Mirjavedanfar. "Iran, Loser of the Intelligence War" [^It^Ual Jjjj s^jJIj 'oL«']." Rooz Online, 
January 13, 2010. http://www.roozonline.com/persian/archive/overallarchive/news/ 
archive/2010/january/13/article/-bc64c2c377.html (accessed May 21, 2012). 

"Moslehi Fired by Ahmadinejad at Cabinet Meeting." Daneshjoo News [Tehran], May 4, 201 1. 
http://www.daneshjoonews.com/news/politics/7174-1390-02-14-15-43-38.html (accessed 
March 22, 2012). " 

"Mostafa Poormohammadi: I Had No Role in the Chain Murders" [ls-^^^^jjj < ^ti-»™ ; ^u J3 j^ 
^lita is J& tj\ «j#?Jj]. BBC Persian, February 27, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/ 



58 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



iran/2012/02/120227_132_pourmohamadi_iranian_murder.shtml (accessed May 17, 
2012). 

"Mostafa Poormohammadi's Biography" [<^-y^Jj: ls-^^^jjj < ^ !->"-"> ]. Hamshahri Online 

[Tehran], February 25, 2008. http://hamshahrionline.ir/news-45214.aspx (accessed May 
17,2012). 

"Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK)." Federation of American Scientists, Intelligence Resource 

Program, July 13, 2004. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/mek.htm (accessed May 18, 
2012). 

"NAM Reaffirms Support for Iran's Nuclear Energy Program." Press TV [Tehran], March 8, 
2012. http://presstv.com/detail/230663.html (accessed March 26, 2012). 

Open Source Center. "Regime Using Increasingly Sophisticated Measures to Control 

Cyberspace." July 28, 2010. https://www.opensource.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/ 
PTARGS_0_0_200_203_0_43/content/Display/15438541/IAP20100728573001001.pdf 
(accessed May 10,2012). 

Open Source Center. "When Did Filteration of Sites and Blogs Begin?" May 10, 2010. 

https://www.opensource.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_200_203_121123_ 
43/content/Display/I AP20 100519338021 #index= 1 &searchKey=7449847&rpp= 1 
(accessed March 22, 2012). 

"Operations Ministry of Intelligence and Security [MOIS] Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e 

Keshvar VEVAK." Federation of American Scientists, Intelligence Resource Program, 
August 11, 1997. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/iran/vevak/org.htm (accessed April 11, 
2012). 

Mesdaghi, Iraj. "Pay Attention to the Innocent Suspects of the 'Nuclear Experts' Assassination" 
[■^ji «<_sl^i^A jl» ^i » ^i^"« » jjjj ali£-ij jU^Ia ±)ja aj], Gooya News [Belgium], August 21, 
2012. http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2012/08/145756.php (accessed September 
12,2012). 

"Q&A About Majoring in Schools with the Prospect of Employment at MOIS." Afkar-e-Now 

[Tehran], n.d. http://www.afkarenow.com/barname/Etelaat.htm (accessed May 16, 2012). 

"Religion." Azerbaijan Presidential Library, August 20, 1992. http://files.preslib.az/projects/ 
remz/pdf_en/atr_din.pdf (accessed September 5, 2012). 

"Reza Malek's Letter, the Former Deputy of the Ministry of Intelligence from Evin: Chain, 
House Arrest, Unknown Graves Will not Save Dictatorship." Balatarin, May 1, 2012. 
http://balatarin.eom/permlink/2012/5/2/3013377 (accessed May 21, 2012). 

Sahimi, Muhammad. "The Chain Murders." Tehran Bureau, PBS, December 14, 2009. 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/12/the-chain-murders-1988- 
1998.html (accessed March 22, 2012). 



59 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



Sahimi, Muhammad. "The Chain Murders: Killing Dissidents and Intellectuals 1988-1998." 
Tehran Bureau, PBS, January 5, 2011. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ 
tehranbureau/20 1 1/0 1/the-chain-murders-killing-dissidents-and-intellectuals- 1 988- 
1998.html (accessed March 22, 2012). 

Sahimi, Muhammad. "Reformist Strategist: Saeed Hajjarian." Tehran Bureau, PBS, July 8, 2009. 
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/07/reformist-strategist- 
saeed-hajjarian.html (accessed May 17, 2012). 

"Satellite Image of the Ministry of Intelligence Building" [ £>J jj cs^- 3 ' J^-^ J' cs 1 ojIjaU qS^. 
cie!lLl]. Anti-Dictator [Iranian blog], September 2009. http://zobin-cost.blogspot. 
com/2009/09/blog-post_03.html (accessed May 16, 2012). 

"Secret Execution of Four Arab Political Prisoners" [ ls^j^ jf> :s j j c l>4^ lt^J J*t <>\p±* ptae-1 
CjU!1LI CjjIjj i^jj U ojIjjU. aj f^=-]. Gooya News [Belgium], June 21, 2012. 
http://news.gooya.com/ politics/archives/20 12/06/ 1423 95 .php. (accessed June 21, 2012). 

"The Structure of Power in Iran." Iran Chamber Society, n.d. http://www.iranchamber.com/ 
government/articles/structure_of_power.php (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"The Supreme National Security Council" [<^* 'A^ 1 J^ tshj^]. Iran 's Judicial Laws Bank 

[Tehran], n.d. http://libc.ir/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126: 1391- 
01-17-05-56-00&catid=55: 1391-01-14-1 l-53-01&Itemid=70 (accessed September 6, 
2012). 

"30 US spies arrested in Iran." YouTube, June 22, 201 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= 
uOCHnRyUUgQ (accessed April 11, 2012). 

"Treasury Accuses Iran of Hacking." Emptywheel, February 16, 2012. http://www. empty wheel, 
net/tag/quds-force/ (accessed April 5, 2012). 

United Kingdom. Home Office. UK Border Agency. "IRAN: Country of Origin Information 
(COI) Report." June 28, 2011. http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/ 
documents/policyandlaw/coi/iran/report-061 l.pdf?view=Binary (accessed March 21, 
2012). 

"Untold [Incidents] About the Ministry of Intelligence" [<^lc^Ll ^Jjj J ^ aj^U]. Aftab News 
[Tehran], September 6, 2005. http://www.aftabnews.ir/vdcc4xqs.2bqii81aa2.html 
(accessed May 18,2012). 

U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Homeland Security. Subcommittee on 
Counterterrorism and Intelligence. "Hezbollah in Latin America: Implications for U.S. 
Security." (July 7, 2011). (Statement of Douglas Farah). http://homeland.house.gov/ 
sites/homeland.house.gov/files/Testimony%20Farah.pdf (accessed April 11, 2012). 

Wege, Carl Anthony. "Iranian Intelligence Organizations." Taylor Francis Online, 1997 '. 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08850609708435351 (accessed March 22, 
2012). 



60 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



"Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow — Heydar Moslehi, the Minister of Intelligence." YouTube, 

February 24, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9wT31jkhf8, (accessed April 11, 
2012). " 

Zucker, Daniel M. "Disinformation Campaign in Overdrive: Iran's VEVAK in High-Gear." 

Global Politician, September 3, 2007. http://www.globalpolitician.com/23386-vevak-iran 
(accessed April 17, 2012). 



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Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 



26. APPENDIX. Charts, Maps, and Photos 




Supreme National 
Security Council 



Armed Forces 



Expedient 
Council 



Head of 
Judiciary 



' "iTT n3 



= Directly elected 
= Appointed or approved 
■* = Screening function 



Figure 4. Government of Iran 

Source:http://www. iranchamber.com 



i 






^j>**^ 



nijSjy 



I 

3 

G 



(*— 1,15 



X 



*», 




■5 The Mlmsiy ot 
£ Mtfcjiiiee And 
^ hv.irirmil SKUnty 

ffl 



S,dii 



^toosfia 



F *teafr 



'"'Hn 




NKanin 



Ondl 

e, 



Location of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security Headquarters 

in Central Tehran 
Source: http://maps.google.com 



62 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 




Satellite Photo of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security Headquarters 
Source: http://www.zobin-cost.blogspot.com 



63 



Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security: A Profile 




One of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security's Buildings in Tehran 
Source: http://www.zobin-cost.blogspot.com/2009/09/blog-post_10.html 



64